Shoremen make their own luck on St. Patrick’s Day

CHESTERTOWN — If he were still with us, Charlie Moloney would have been darting around Kibler Field at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium on Sunday — dressed as a leprechaun, complete with a dyed green beard — to cheer on the Shoremen.

It was St. Patrick’s Day, and the small-in-stature Moloney, a former jockey, was arguably the biggest fan of Washington College lacrosse.

Surely then, Moloney was smiling from above when Washington on a brilliantly sunny afternoon held on to upset previously unbeaten Skidmore, 16-15, less than 48 hours after coming up short in a comeback bid on a rainy Friday night against Ithaca.

Sophomore attackman Cam Carrigan’s man-up goal with 46 seconds remaining held up as the game-winner, halting a 7-1 run that had allowed Skidmore (8-1) to deadlock at 15-all with just under four minutes to play.

Washington (2-5) put the brakes on a three-game losing streak.

There might have been a little bit of the luck of the Irish at play.

Head coach John Nostrant used the word “fortunate” when talking about surviving Skidmore’s rally.

“We knew they would make a run,” he said.

The stars certainly were aligned for the Shoremen, who took the field in specially ordered uniforms with green lettering and a shamrock logo with the initials “CM” in the center; members of the 1984 national runner-up team and their hall of fame coach Terry Corcoran were on the sidelines; and the game was dedicated to Charlie Moloney.

“The atmosphere at the Kib reminded me of the glory days of the 80s,” Nostrant, who starred for Corcoran on the national runner-up teams of 1984, ’85 and ’86, wrote in an email to The Evening Enterprise.

He said, “The [19]84 guys and dedicating the game to Charlie was a huge boost for us. Charlie was instrumental in building culture and taking care of the teams and families of the 80s and 90s.”

After the 14-10 loss Friday night at home to Ithaca, talk on Saturday about how to move forward centered on playing harder and with more energy, according to Nostrant.

“I think we did that well,” he said of the Shoremen’s effort on Sunday.

The locals trailed only once, 1-0, after spotting their guests an early goal.

Four different Washington players — Mac Hale, Trevor Ivatts, Carrigan and Connor Garrison — scored in the span of 8 minutes, 40 seconds in the first quarter for a 4-2 lead that grew to 8-5 by halftime.

Nostrant pointed to “dodging with a purpose and getting the ball inside and shooting to score, simple things that we did not do well leading up to Sunday’s contest” as key to a much-improved performance.

The Shoremen took their largest lead at 13-6 on Ben Dickinson’s unassisted goal with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter, punctuating a 5-0 run that included back-to-back scores from Dickinson and a pair of Luke Phillips assists.

Skidmore’s Jack Doherty and Jon Byrne found the back of the net in the span of 45 seconds to close out the third quarter as part of a larger 9-2 run that evened the score at 15 with 3:48 to play on junior midfielder Brian Gonsalves’ third goal of the day.

After that, the Thoroughbreds failed to capitalize on two man-up opportunities — Cam Mcginty’s shot was high, Tim Blue’s shot was wide and then freshman keeper Colin Gray, who had given up the tying goal in late relief of starter Will Charvala, made his first stop at the 2:22 mark.

Washington failed on its ensuing clear attempt, but got the ball back 20 seconds later on a Skidmore turnover.

The Thoroughbreds were flagged for a pushing foul with 1:18 remaining.

On the extra-man chance, Garrison found Carrigan for the go-ahead goal — and what turned out to be the game-winner. (The 30-second penalty had expired, but Skidmore had not gotten back to even in its defensive zone so the goal is considered a man-up score.)

Skidmore won the ensuing face-off and got off a clean shot with 32 seconds remaining, but Gray made a terrific save.

Senior long stick middie Tyler Bishop scooped up the ground ball, and the Shoremen ran out the clock.

Gray, who was Washington’s starting net-minder through the first six games, picked up the win in 5:14 of relief.

Charvala, a junior who had seen very limited action until Sunday, was credited with seven saves. This was his first career start.

Nostrant said he believed that the best way to stop the Skidmore run in the fourth quarter was to change goalies.

“It’s a team sport,” he told The Evening Enterprise, “and both goalies were instrumental in the win.”

Washington’s Garrison (12-4-16) led all players with seven points on three goals and four assists. Carrigan (6-3-9) scored four goals. Dickinson (15-6-21) was two and one, Grant Matthews assisted three times, and Tom Merritt, Jason Skidmore, Reeve Hargrave, Luke Brennan, Hale, Ivatts and Matthews each contributed one goal.

Senior Gabe Velasquez won 13 of 27 face-offs and led all players with 10 ground balls. Sophomore Owen Boone was 5-of-8 at the X.

Gonsalves (two assists) and Caleb Lawson each had hat tricks for Skidmore, while Byrne and Charlie Kessler each scored twice. 

NOTES: Washington is 3-0 all-time against Skidmore; all three games have been played in Chestertown.

The 1984 team that reached the NCAA Division III championship game was honored at halftime.

***

Centennial Conference play begins Saturday, March 23 with Washington traveling to McDaniel.

In a poll of the conference’s head coaches, two-time defending champion Dickinson is favored to three-peat. The Red Devils garnered seven first-place votes and 63 points.

Gettysburg (55) and Swarthmore (53) each received one first-place vote and finished second and third in the poll, respectively.

Franklin & Marshall (39) and Muhlenberg (32) round out the top five, followed by Ursinus (28), Washington (27), Haverford (19) and McDaniel (8).

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