The URI Men's Club Lacrosse team defeated an inter-conference opponent in the Stonehill Skyhawks on Thursday night at Meade Stadium, showing the Skyhawks exactly why they are still the top ranked team in the MCLA Coaches Poll in DII.
The last time the Rams stepped on the field was March 10th in another dominating victory over Grand Valley State, but they proved that this long break was not going to impact their focus as they got whatever they wanted all night long against Stonehill.
The Rams immediately jumped down the Skyhawks' throats in the first quarter, scoring eight unanswered goals. Leading goal scorer of the season, Anthony "The Italian Stallion" Guarino welcomed Stonehill to Meade Stadium with a goal just under the eleven minute mark to put the Rams ahead 1-0. Seconds later, Patrick Grover found Ian Schermerhorn all alone for an easy one to make the score 2-0 Rams. Grover then found the Italian Stallion galloping around the crease and Guarino put it home to put the Rams up three with nine minutes left to go in the first quarter.
Guarino returned the favor back to Grover as he hit the sophomore on a Rams transition opportunity and Grover cashed it in to make the score 4-0 Rams with just over six minutes left to play in the first. A penalty on Stonehill set up another opportunity for URI to further extend their lead and they once again showed just how efficient their ball movement is. Grover played the role of the playmaker again and he found a big target in Adrian "Midfield Mountain" Rutkowski around the crease for an easy goal to make it 5-0 in favor of the Rams.
URI still wasn't done as with four minutes left to go in the first quarter, John Cantilli bounced a missile past Stonehill goalie Tyler Dao to give his team a 6-0 lead. Keegan Reilly, who got whatever he wanted in URI's last victory, was quiet up until this point. He then quickly introduced himself to Dao with two straight goals to close out the quarter. First, Reilly found a mismatch with a short stick on him and took full advantage by ripping a shot past Dao. He then followed that up with another rocket, this time a low to high shot, putting the Rams up 8-0 to end the first quarter.
URI opened up the second quarter just like they closed it out. Davis Lee found a loose ball and put it in from seven yards out to continue the Rams scoring onslaught. If it wasn't already apparent to the crowd that URI's pressure was too overpowering for the Skyhawks, the Rams made sure to drill home that point as they continued to hound the ball. This caused Stonehill to make even more mistakes and Ty Brown was able to cash in on another Skyhawk turnover to make it 10-0 with nine minutes left in the second quarter.
Guarino kept it going with a textbook swim move to fake out the Stonehill goalie to put his squad up 11-0. Two minutes later, Zach Petit was able to tuck it down low after a sweet stick dodge move to make it twelve unanswered goals for URI with a little under four minutes to play in the first half. Stonehill finally put themselves on the board as Liam Conneely was able to get one past URI goalie Hunter Billings to close out the first half with URI dominating 12-1.
From here on out, the Rams displayed how dangerous their depth is as the second team gave Stonehill just as many problems as the first team. Stonehill made some moves themselves and switched out their goalies to put in Aidan Lang at goal. For the second straight game however, the Rams let their opponent know that it simply does not matter who is in net; they will find a way to score. It took them approximately 40 seconds to make the score 13-1 as Matt Walsh took full advantage of his first field time of the night and ripped one past Lang. Ty Brown then netted his second goal of the night to beat the shot clock at the twelve minute mark. Stonehill would try to at least get a little momentum going with two straight goals by Conneely and Cam Collins to give the Skyhawks three goals on the evening. Kennedy Heath then joined URI's goal scoring group to make it a twelve goal lead for URI with four minutes left to go in the third. Devdan Young was then able to find a little wiggle room for Stonehill to make it 15-4 in favor of URI to end the third quarter.
The Skyhawks were able to close the gap to ten after Conneely's third goal of the night with twelve minutes left to play. If Stonehill had any sort of life or momentum now, the Rams snuffed that out rather quickly. A minute later, Guarino ripped a low to high shot for his fourth goal of the night, while two minutes later Sean Clark tallied another one for the Rams to make the score 17-5. Neil MacGillivray capped off the prolific scoring night for URI, becoming the twelfth different goal scorer, to make the final score 18-5.
This was expected for the Rams against an unranked Stonehill squad whose last game was almost three weeks ago, but it is always refreshing to see a hot team escape a potential trap game.
URI looks to continue their domination with a date at home between Central Connecticut State on Sunday March 26th at 6 p.m. EST. For the Skyhawks, they look to shake off this beating and will take on Central Conn. State as well, this one being on March 31st at 7:30 p.m. EST.
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Stay tuned for more coverage of the URI Men's Club Lacrosse team as they continue their great run!
- W. Monast