Men's Lacrosse Beats Augustana Behind Offensive Power of Luke Elder and Rocco Mularoni

by Eva Dean Folkert

Rocco Mularoni poses for a portrait Luke Elder poses for a portrait A fast-breaking Flying Dutchmen offense, with two players dominating the setup and the finish, was much more than enough for the Hope College men's lacrosse team to record a 18-8 non-league victory over Augustana College (Illinois) at home on Friday.

The win was Hope's second in as many nights and its third in-a-row. The Flying Dutchmen, now 4-1, finish a three-consecutive-game homestand against Wabash College (Indiana) tomorrow, Saturday, March 16 at 1 p.m.

The tandem of sophomore Luke Elder of Grand Rapids (East GR HS), pictured left, and junior Rocco Mularoni of Hartland (Detroit Catholic Central), pictured right, accounted for a little more than half of Hope's total offensive output. Elder had a breakout game with six goals and one assist while Mularoni led in assists with four while tallying four goals of his own.

And all of Hope's scoring got started no more than 34 seconds into the game.  

After an early shot on goal by Augustana was saved by senior goalie Nick Schanhals of North Muskegon (North Muskegon HS) at the 14:30 mark in the first quarter, freshman Liam Cunningham of South Lyon (Detroit Catholic Central) took Schanhals' clearing pass, then forwarded it to a hustling Mularoni on the right side. Mularoni gave the ball right back to Cunningham who had caught up from behind, and the charging freshman quickly flung the ball at the Viking goalie, scoring the game's first goal and his second of the season.

The full-field play took a total of four seconds.

That's how it went for a number of Flying Dutchmen scoring plays on the snowy night in Van Andel.

"We want to run the field; that's one of our priorities," said head coach Michael Schanhals. "It's very important that we get up and down and use our depth. So, we're rolling a lot of guys through at full speed and then they get some rest. And we shared the work tonight. We had work to do and we worked it."

Hope scored the game's first four goals and tallied five in each first-half quarter to lead at halftime, 10-4.

In the third quarter, the Flying Dutchmen defense held the Vikings scoreless. For the game, Hope caused three times more turnovers than Augustana by a margin of 18-6. Cunningham and senior Andrew Caris of Hartland (Detroit Catholic Central) each caused three turnovers.

Joining Elder and Mularoni with multiple-goal performances were junior Max Kuiper of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Central) with three and sophomore Ben Staubus of Westville, Indiana (Mt. Carmel Catholic Prep) and Cunningham with two apiece.

Hope outshot Augustana, 27-22, for a 66% on-goal shooting percentage. "It was really nice when we made the extra pass, found the backside, got in the gaps and really finished," Coach Schanhals said. "We shot the ball well tonight. I was really, really pleased."

Goalies Schanhals and freshman Ian Bosman of Centennial, Colorado (Cherry Creek HS) accounted for a total of 14 saves.