March 25 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Sophomore Branden Wessels (Severna Park, Md.) tied a school-record with five goals, as the Bethany College men’s lacrosse team posted its first victory of the year by defeating visiting Alma (Mich.) College 9-4 Sunday afternoon.
Wessells’ big day got off to a quick start, as he struck for two goals in the first two minutes. His first tally came just 49 seconds into the game off an assist from freshman Trey Moore (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Scioto). Just over a minute later, he scored again, this time off a pass from sophomore Travis Granich (Huntington, W.Va.), and BC was on top 2-0 with just 1:50 off the clock.
The Bison (1-6), who dominated the first period with a 13-1 shot advantage, made it 3-0 at the 7:07 mark when junior Zach Gordon (Leesburg, Va./Heritage) scored an unassisted goal. The Scots (0-10) had a pair of scores in the second period, both from Cole Mulder. Those were sandwiched around Wessells’ third goal of the afternoon, which came in a man-up situation, and Bethany carried a 4-2 lead into halftime.
The opening score of the third quarter came on a pretty play by the Bison. From behind the net, Gordon found a cutting Moore racing down the middle and Moore flipped a shot over the goalies’ right shoulder into the mesh to extend the lead to 5-2. Alma managed a goal with 3:23 to go in the quarter, but any momentum they might have taken quickly disappeared when Granich answered with an unassisted goal for BC just 32 seconds later and it was a 6-3 Green and White margin going to the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth, the Gordon-to-Moore connection worked again, with the Bethany freshman notching his second goal of the game. Following the final Scot goal of the game from Mulder, Wessells capped his scoring outburst with a pair of tallies in the final six minutes. The first came at the 5:26 mark off an assist freshman David Zorn (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-LaSalle) and the last score came from a pass by Gordon with 2:35 to play and Bethany would go on to finish the victory.
It was not just a record-tying day for Wessells, who equaled the single-game school record set by Kyle Arrington with five goals in a 13-6 win over Ohio Valley last season in the initial year of the program. It was a record-breaking one for Gordon, who passed out three assists to set a new single-game program standard. Moore, (three points) and Granich (two) also turned in multi-point efforts in the triumph.
The Bison defense was strong in the game, limiting the Scots to just 12 shots on cage. Sophomore C.J. Studnicky (Severna Park, Md.) stopped eight shots in net to earn the win. Sophomore Corey Doneski (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) also matched a single-game record for the young program, as he scooped up 10 ground balls. Granich, who set the original ground ball record last year against Thiel, picked up seven grounders in Sunday’s win and also won 6-of-10 faceoffs, while freshman T.J. Graham (Mechanicsville, Md./Chopticon) won six of the eight draws he contested.
Bethany will try to make it two wins in a row Wednesday when it hosts Washington & Jefferson in a 5:30 game at Bison Stadium.