Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown lacrosse suffers first defeat in two seasons

MORGANTOWN — The Morgantown High boys’ lacrosse team was handed its first defeat since 2022 on Tuesday night at Pony Lewis Field. The visiting Marauders of St. Joseph Collegiate Institute out of Tonawanda, N.Y. made the trek to Morgantown on their way to Baltimore for two other games and left with a 10-7 victory after a competitive matchup.

SJCI head coach Peter Hudecki is a graduate and former lacrosse player from WVU.

The Marauders (1-0) used a strong third quarter to pull away in the second half after leading by one goal at the halftime break and kept the Mohigans offense in check while building the advantage.

MHS (7-1) suffered its first loss since 2022 after going undefeated in 2023 on its way to the state championship.

“I think we needed to adjust a little better, maybe relax a bit,” MHS head coach Jeremy Bennett said. “We had a bit of unexpected unsettled play that we weren’t expecting with the ball being all over the place at times. They were also running a good 10-man ride that we weren’t used to and we had to adjust to that also. They are very talented and a strong team.”

It took nearly four minutes for the opening goal to be scored as MHS attacker Nate Kupec found himself free with only the keeper to beat and rifled home to break the ice.

The Marauders responded positively and tied the game on a laser of a shot by Tyler Hofrichter with 6:26 to go in the first quarter. Then it only took 12 more ticks of the clock for SJCI to take the lead right off of the faceoff 2-1.

Each team added one more goal in the opening 12 minutes as SJCI took a 3-2 lead into the second.

Joseph Mathews equalized for MHS less than 90 seconds into the second frame, but that would be the final goal of the half for the hosts. That made way for the Marauders to go ahead 4-3 with 3:14 left until half, taking advantage of a power play with a one-man advantage on the field after an MHS penalty. SCJI led 4-3 going into the locker room.

The third quarter made all the difference for the visitors, and they started early with a goal less than two minutes into the second half to go ahead 5-3. Then two minutes later, a sixth goal found the back of the net. The Marauders extended an 8-3 lead before the Mohigans could stop the bleeding. Nathan Lindsay fired home to cut into the lead for MHS 8-4, but SJCI matched the effort and scored its ninth goal just before the end of the third.

“We talked about our effort level at halftime, we’re a young team,” Hudecki said. “We made some mental errors as we are still in a bit of a learning phase but I’m proud of the effort against a really good team in Morgantown High and we were glad to have the chance to play here.”

The Marauders added their tenth and final goal at the 9:57 mark of the fourth quarter to lead 10-4. 

MHS made a strong effort in the final goings of the game as Luke Quigley completed a hat trick with three goals in the final seven minutes, but it was too little, too late for the hosts as they were defeated 10-7.

“We need to make sure to play better defense, we were letting them have top side which is something we talk about, and our slides to help on defense were late,” Bennett said. “We are supposed to be early with helping on defense and we were late if we were even there at all. We can learn from this game a lot and get better from it.”