Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/21/16
From Press Release
Swarthmore College Men’s Lacrosse opened the 2016 season on Saturday with a win over visiting Eastern University, 8-6. Sophomore attack Sam Sokota led the charge with four goals.
Sokota also tallied an assist for the five-point day as Swarthmore upended an Eastern team that received votes in the USILA Preseason rankings. Classmate Matt Johnson netted two goals, and the sophomore success continued with Cam Marsh and Alex Mandel scoring a goal as well. Sophomore John Calia got the start in goal and recorded 11 saves, including a point-blank save in the fourth-quarter crunchtime.
The Garnet trailed the Eastern Eagles, an NCAA Tournament team in 2015, 1-0 after the first quarter. Swarthmore broke through in the second quarter with 12:37 to play. Sokota rolled around the crease off the right pipe and fired a pass across to Johnson waiting near the left post. Johnson quickly caught the pass and dumped the shot into the lower left corner of the goal.
Eastern, however, responded 16 seconds later after winning the faceoff on a laser goal by midfielder Brian Mizell (Strath Haven). Swarthmore tied the game back up with 7:16 to go in the second with Matt Johnson juking his way towards the goal from the left wing and finishing low-to-low. Eastern again retaliated quickly thereafter and went ahead 3-2 with 6:31 left in the half.
Sokota netted his second goal of the game two minutes later to even the count, but Eastern saw Swarthmore’s goal and raised it.
Down 5-3 in the third, Swarthmore narrowed the gap as Sokota completed his hat trick. The goal began a 5-1 rally for the Garnet the rest of the way. Sokota added a fourth goal off an assist from Cam Marsh to give Swarthmore a 5-5 tie with 12:22 to play in the game. Less than a minute later, midfielder Alex Mandel hustled for a ground ball outside of the box and then weaved his way in towards the goal where he fired the go-ahead goal and gave Swarthmore its first lead of the game.
Eastern equalized the game with 6:47 remaining, but Swarthmore got back in the driver’s seat with just under five minutes to play. Sokota restarted play behind the net after a missed shot and hooked around in front of the crease where he zipped a fadeaway shot past Eastern’s goalie.
Swarthmore added an insurance goal with 2:45 to go as freshman Dylan Rittenhouse connected with Cam Marsh for the score.
With 1:42 to go, goalie Calia came up big with a save, stopping an unguarded shot from just outside the crease.
Mark Buannic had two goals and an assist and Matt Lee won 13 of 18 face-offs for Eastern.
Swarthmore (1-0) is back in action on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Widener University.