Smothering Second Half Defense Gives Cobras First-Ever SAC Win
HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Coker men's lacrosse team's 15-10 victory over Wingate University on Wednesday (Feb. 26) marked the program's first-ever South Atlantic Conference victory. The win also improves head coach David Olliver to 2-0 against his former alma mater, while moving the Navy and Yellow to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play.
For the second consecutive game John Bretton has set a new career-high in goals. The attacker scored five goals and handed out one assist to lead the Coker offense. Not to be outdone, the duo of Mike Martiello and Shane Wilson found the back of the net for a combined eight goals and two assists. Rounding out the scoring for the Cobras was Mike Maresca and Timothy Smith who each tallied one goal apiece, while Smith handed out one assists. Ryan Maurer and Andy Campos led the Cobras in helpers as they dished out three and two assists, respectively, while Ryan Vento handed out one.
Defensively, the Cobras were on fire, forcing 17 Wingate turnovers and picking up 36 ground balls. Josh Smith registered a team-high seven ground balls, while Dylan Marks and Max Baltzer picked up four and three ground balls of their own, respectively. Between the pipes Tim Ryan was stellar for the Navy and Yellow, stopping 12 shots and only allowing two second half goals.
Wingate would put home the first goal of the game after only two minutes of action, but the Cobras would answer with a 4-0 run, headed by back-to-back goals by Bretton. The Bulldogs would manage to score two more in the first period and leave Coker hanging on to a narrow 4-3 lead. The second period would be a slugfest between the Cobras and Bulldogs as the teams traded goals back-and-forth. Wingate would capitalize on a late Coker penalty to knot the game up at 7-all and would then tag on another goal in the last minute to take a 8-7 lead into halftime.
The second half was dominated by Coker and its defensive effort. After an equalizer by Martiello to tie the game 8-all early in the third, the Cobras would not allow a second half goal until 11 minutes to go in the fourth. During that time the Cobras would score six unanswered goals to open up a 14-8 advantage. Both teams would tag on late goals in the closing minutes, but Ryan's impressive second half saves would preserve the 15-10 victory for the Navy and Yellow.
The Cobras will have a quick turnaround as they host the University of Mount Olive Trojans on Saturday (Mar. 1) in a non-conference tilt. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at Byerly Park.
McDonald's Player of the Game – Tim Ryan
Release written by Coker sports information graduate assistant Sharod Williams