Morrell, Dunster pace No. 11/12 Bulldogs to seventh-straight win

Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography
Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography

FAIRFIELD, CONN. – Behind a five-goal second quarter and four-score outings from senior midfielder Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, Conn.) and sophomore attack Shane Morrell (Glen Mills, Pa.), the No. 12/11 Bryant University men's lacrosse team won its seventh-straight contest to stay perfect in Northeast Conference action, topping league foe Sacred Heart, 14-5, on the road Wednesday night.

Seven different Bulldogs (9-2, 2-0 NEC) got on the board, with points coming from 10 different sources in the victory, as the visitors scored five in the second quarter and six in the fourth. Four-goal performances from Dunster and Morrell marked game and season highs for both. The Pioneers (2-7, 1-1) were paced by three points from Alex Dodge (1 goal, 2 assists), while Ryan Hughes made 14 stops between the pipes.

Sacred Heart controlled the pace of the game throughout the opening 15 minutes, nullifying Dunster's rocketed early goal and the Bulldogs' 1-0 lead with back-to-back tallies. Matt Gannon scored from the doorstep after fielding a Cody Marquis pass from behind the cage to tie the game at 1-1, and the Pioneers would take the lead with 34 seconds to go in the frame off a Marquis tally, assisted by Dodge.

But when the Pioneers were hit with two concurrent penalties early in the second, the Bulldogs capitalized, netting a man-up goal from Dunster just a minute before Morrell chipped in his first of the night to regain the one-goal edge.

With a flag down on the field against Sacred Heart with 5:35 to go before the intermission, Dunster would erase the need for the extra-man opportunity, hitting the upper 90 to complete his fourth hat trick of the season for a 4-2 Bryant lead. Morrell would add to his total at the 4:27 mark with a beauty of his own, taking on his defender at the doorstep before going over the top with the ball for an unaided score.

Senior midfielder Alex Zomerfeld (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) capped off the five-score second quarter with 39 ticks to go in the frame, fighting his way through traffic down the middle to score on a bounce shot for the Bulldogs' 6-2 halftime lead.

Out of the break, senior middie JK Poirier (Coatesville, Pa.) would turn a huge save from sophomore goalie Gunnar Waldt (Freeland, Md.) (11 saves) into a transition tally to open third-quarter scoring, streaking down the field to fire a quick shot up high for a 7-2 Bryant lead.

Dodge narrowed the Bulldogs' lead to four with 3:34 to play with a marker that beat Waldt into side netting, but Morrell got the score back seconds later off a pass from junior middie Brian Schlansker (Glenville, N.Y.) to complete his own hat trick on the outing.

Redshirt-freshman longpole and NEC Rookie of the Week Cody O'Donnell (Smithfield, R.I.) grabbed the ground ball on the fourth-quarter opening faceoff and fired it home seconds later for his eighth goal of the season and a 9-3 Bryant advantage to kick off the final 15 minutes, and the Bulldogs would cruise from there to the eventual 14-5 victory.

Alex Miller and Brian Masi added fourth-quarter tallies for the host Pioneers, while Morrell recorded his season-best fourth goal of the night at the 7:25 mark with the help of sophomore middie Collins Gantz (Denver, Colo.), who got on the board himself less than a minute later for the 11-5 lead.

Dunster tacked on a fourth and final tally with four minutes left in the contest, and Schlansker would wrap up the game's scoring with back-to-back goals in the final minutes for the 14-5 margin.

On the day, both teams fired off 38 shots, with Bryant putting 28 of them on net to the Pioneers' 16. The Bulldogs once again dominated on ground balls, 29-18, and at the faceoff, with junior specialist Kevin Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) going 17-for-23 with 11 ground balls from the X. The Black and Gold also limited their turnovers to single digits for the first time this season, committing just eight giveaways while forcing six of Sacred Heart's 13 on the night.

The Bulldogs remain on the road for their next outing and play their fourth contest in 12 days Saturday afternoon on the road, taking on the NEC's newest member in Saint Joseph's at 2:00 p.m.