By Gary Horvath
Collegian Sports Editor
The Grove City College Men’s lacrosse team added two impressive wins to their resume this past weekend. On Friday, March 9, they defeated Taylor University by a score of 12-2 and the next morning , shut out Calvin College while scoring 14 goals.
The wins helped the Wolverines maintain their perfect home record so far this year, improving to 3-0. Their first home win came in a 9-8 thriller against Carnegie Mellon University on Monday, February 27.
The Wolverines so thoroughly dominated their opponents that it’s hard to say exactly what the key to their success was. The offense possessed the ball with great consistency and the defense was as stingy as it’s ever been.
Sophomore goalie Chris Dymski earned his first career shutout against Calvin. With his performance this weekend, he and the rest of the defense now boast the fifth best goals against average (5.8) and the tenth best save percentage (.667) in the nation for MCLA Division II lacrosse.
On the offensive end, the team has been paced by sophomore attacker Ryan Cypher, who leads the team with 18 points (14 G, 4 A). 11 of those points came against Taylor and Calvin.
After the games, Cypher discussed what has made this year’s offensive squad successful.
“We are starting to communicate and execute as a team and not individually. We have found that when we each strive to complete our specific roles in every little aspect we are successful and will get the job done,” he said.
It’s no surprise that a little bit of hard work has contributed to the recent offensive onslaught. Cypher added, “The GCC offense has grown exponentially over the past year. Waking up at 5:45 in the mornings for practice in the off season was tough, but I will honestly say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. Working hard at times we don’t want to is what leads to success.”
Also adding to the recently potent offense are Senior Captains Tim Irwin and Kellen Quackenbush. Irwin has 17 points on the year and leads the team with 11 assists, many of them to Cypher. Quackenbush has thrived in the ‘X’ attack position this year, scoring 11 goals and adding five assists.
The Wolverines now sit at 3-2 on the year, suffering two losses on their spring break trip to Savannah, Georgia against southern rivals No. 12 Elon and No. 9 Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) (No. 9).
Although an opportunity to garner some national attention was missed, Grove City head coach Andrew Stimmel has focused on the benefits of the trip.
“Playing competitively against two top ten teams on the road really allowed the guys to see their potential and gain confidence for the future. As hard as those two [losses] were to swallow for the team, they realized how close they were to coming away with two victories.”
The team knows that consistency across the board is the key to continued success this season. Stimmel added,
“The guys have a great understanding of the constant refining, discipline and faith it takes to grow in their relationship with Christ and we apply that same concept to our team after every practice and game. In a lot of ways, you saw the carryover of that this weekend against Calvin and Taylor.”
Grove City will again hit the road this weekend with games against No. 2 Grand Valley State University on Friday night and Aquinas College on Saturday. A strong showing in Michigan could help the Wolverines regain a national ranking for the first time since last season.