COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team opened its season with a 13-6 loss to Franklin Pierce University in Northeast-10 Conference play on Saturday at Duffy Field. The contest marked the debut of first-year head coach Alex Smith, and was also the Ravens' first game of the year.
Senior Brian Loughlin (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) netted a hat trick with one assist to lead the Purple Knights, becoming the eighth player in program history with 50 career goals (52) and 50 assists (66). He remains fourth in school annals in helpers while moving into 15th in points (118). Classmate Charlie Murphy (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) handed out three assists with two ground balls and two caused turnovers, while senior Bobby Frank (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs), junior David Malota (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) and sophomore Ralph Grillone III (Brockton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) all scored once.
In his first collegiate start, senior Jake Sonberg (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Guertin) made a career-high 14 saves. Classmate Neil Gallagher (Stowe, Vt./Green Mountain Valley School) registered three ground balls and two caused turnovers, passing Ryan Clunan '11 (40) to take over sixth in program history with 41 career caused turnovers, and sophomore Justin Richmond (New Market, Md./Linganore) scooped four ground balls.
Senior Jack Carney paced Franklin Pierce with three goals and three assists, classmate Sean Delea had two goals and a helper, while seniors Benjamin Lassow and Louis Palumbo and junior Matt Brewster all scored twice. Palumbo was also 15-for-20 on faceoffs. First-year Justin Lorenzo made eight stops in the opening 55:48 to pick up the win.
Junior Luke Tracy's goal with 2:04 left in the first period proved to be the only scoring in the first frame for either squad. Murphy fed Grillone for a man-up equalizer just 31 seconds into the second quarter, but Palumbo put the Ravens back in front only 11 seconds after that, winning the ensuing draw before heading downfield for the goal. That tally kicked off a 4-0 run that ended the half, with Carney scoring twice, including with one seconds left.
Saint Michael's countered with three of the first four goals of the third period, as Loughlin scored two and assisted the other, Frank's marker at 6:09 that made it 6-4. Murphy and first-year Joseph Gerardi (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) lent helpers on Loughlin's goals. However, Brewster scored 11 seconds after Frank, and Carney pushed the lead back to 8-5 at 3:39. Murphy found Malota with seven ticks remaining, and the hosts trailed by two heading into the final period.
Despite only holding a 10-8 edge in shots during the fourth stanza, the Ravens netted the first five goals over a 10:40 span, with five different players finding the back of the net. Carney handed out two assists. Loughlin finished his four-point game by scooping a ground ball and tallying with 34 seconds to go.
The Purple Knights visit Assumption College next Saturday at 1 p.m. to kick off a three-game road swing.