Late Goal by No. 4 Denison Sinks No. 15 Mustangs in Season Opener

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Denison's Peter Pitroff scored with eight seconds left to break a 10-10 tie and lift the fourth-ranked Big Red to an 11-10 non-conference men's lacrosse victory over No. 15 Stevenson University Sunday afternoon at Mustang Stadium.

Stevenson (0-1) trailed 10-8 after Pitroff scored with 6:31 left in the fourth to cap a three-goal run by Denison (2-0).  With 4:31 remaining, sophomore Ethan Christensen took a pass at the right post from JT Thelen and beat Big Red goalie Cole Poyfair for his first goal of the season.

Denison won the ensuing faceoff and had two shots as it tried to run down the clock.  With 2:22 left, coming out of a timeout, Pitroff was stuffed point blank by Stevenson sophomore goalie Sam Ross, and Ross was able to initiate a clear.  With 1:12 remaining, Christensen got free by running around a screen just inside the restraining line and putting away his second goal of the game to tie things up.

The following faceoff bounced among players for both teams until it was picked up by Henry DeCamp of Denison.  The guests ran the clock down and Pitroff used a spin move to get free and fire a shot from the right side past Ross for the eventual game-winner.

Stevenson cashed in on a one-minute non-releasable penalty by Denison to score twice in a 28-second span late in the first quarter.  At the 4:03 mark, Thelen found freshman Jacob Tatum in front of the goal after the Mustangs moved the ball around following the penalty to make it 1-0.  Tatum made it 2-0 on an assist by sophomore Gray McKee with 3:35 left in the first.  The Mustangs made it 3-0 1:33 before the first quarter break as Thelen hit McKee for McKee's first goal of the season.

Thelen and McKee hooked up again at the start of the second quarter, using a pick and roll play at the 11:50 mark of the second quarter for Thelen's first goal of the season.  Denison responded by reeling off four straight goals in a span of 3:42 to tie the game on a Brooks Davy tally with 4:50 left in the half.  Davy then scored an extra-man goal at the 2:54 mark to put the Big Red up 5-4, their first lead of the afternoon.  The lead was short-lived, as 18 seconds later Thelen scored in transition off the faceoff, with McKee again assisting.  The two teams entered halftime deadlocked 5-5.

The third quarter was back-and-forth as Sam Asman scored for Denison 50 seconds in to give the Big Red a 6-5 lead.  Tatum scored on a feed from Thelen at the 10:22 mark to tie things up, then with exactly 7:00 on the clock, senior Kyle Karsian scored his first goal of the season to put Stevenson up 7-6.  Jake Waxter tied things up for Denison at the 3:53 mark, but the Mustangs took an 8-7 lead into the final quarter as Tatum went top shelf on Poyfair with three seconds remaining in the frame.

Denison turned a 8-7 deficit into a 9-8 lead in a span of eight seconds, as Owen Armstrong tied the game at 13:35 before Davy put the Big Red on top at 13:27.

Tatum finished with four goals in his Mustang debut, while Thelen totaled six points on two goals and four assists.  Christensen finished with two goals and an assist, while McKee posted a goal and three assists.  Defensively, senior Dominic DeFazio finished with seven ground balls and four caused turnovers, while Dylan Harris, Tom Brown and Austin Howard each caused a pair of turnovers.  Sophomore Justin Burnette was 10-19 on faceoffs, as each team won 11 faceoffs on the afternoon.  Ross recorded 10 saves in goal.

Pitroff finished with three goals and three assists for Denison, while Davy added three goals.  Poyfair totaled five saves.

Denison outshot Stevenson 33-27, while the Mustangs picked up 34 ground balls to 27 for the guests. 

Stevenson returns to action Saturday when it hosts No. 13 Gettysburg in a 7:00 contest at Mustang Stadium.