Injury-depleted Quakers downed by Hope

March 18, 2013

~ Evan Osborne ~

~ Evan Osborne ~

Jalen Jackson (Hilliard, OH/Bradley) had another stand out performance for the Wilmington College men’s lacrosse team, which was without three starters, scoring all four goals in Wilmington's 22-4 loss to Hope College (MI) this evening at Williams Stadium.

Slow starts have been an issue for Wilmington all season and the game was no different. It was quite evident Hope would dominate the game physically, tactically and technically from the opening draw running off eight unanswered goals in the first quarter.

“This is the first game where we faced a significant starting line-up of upperclassmen that had a lot game experience playing with one another and it showed on the field,” said head coach Domenic Marzano.

Hope brought the game directly to the Quakers in a very direct and imposing way with their physical dominance to win possession off draws in the midfield and using their technical skills stick work to weave in and out of tight spaces in attack moving the Wilmington players around like pawns in a chess match. It was evident that the Quaker defense was guilty of ball watching on defense and were caught flat footed in defending attackers cutting to goal and scoring off passes from the Hope set up men sitting behind the Quaker net with no sign of defensive pressure.

“We went in to a zone defense because we were trying to slow down the play and they were beating us 1-on-1 going to goal and getting in to their offensive sets,” said Marzano. “We just didn't follow the game plan defensively, and we lost focus on their cutters since we got doing the worst thing a defense can do; get caught ball watching.”

The game wasn't as lopsided as the final score would suggest as the Quakers had their fair share of offensive sets that they just were not able to capitalize. The Quakers were outshot 50-21 and aside from Jackson's four goals, Wilmington didn't test the Hope goalie with many poorly placed shots.

“We missed a lot of opportunities on offense,” said Marzano. “We just weren't shooting well, our shot placement has been off after possessing the ball with heavy pressure, but we just don't capitalize enough on our scoring chances.

“We ran with them, but it is evident there is much work for us to do in practice. We are slowly getting to where we need to be and just need to sharpen up on defense and avoid ball watching and begin capitalizing offensively and it all starts with how we approach practice,” said Marzano.

Consistency is usually what separates success from failure, and Austin Johnston (Columbus, OH/Hilliard Bradley) has been the poster child for consistency from the moment this program began training. Marzano has been extremely pleased with Johnston's performance in practice and in game play as he was all over the field today defending, imposing himself physically on Hope and doing what he can to generate an attack for the Quakers.

“Austin just really gets it,” said Marzano. “He takes care of what needs to be done no matter what the situation whether in practice or in games and just brings it every day with the same positive energetic attitude and focus. There hasn't been a day that has gone by where Austin is off mentally or physically and that is what separates him from everyone else right now. Consistency is needed in practice and the mental focus isn't always there with everyone, and you can see the guys that are standing out are coming mentally and physically prepared to practice just ready to work which is what we need to get better.”

Wilmington will have a day of practice tomorrow before hosting Defiance 7 p.m. Wednesday at Williams Stadium.