by Eva Dean Folkert
Midway through the second quarter and up by just one goal, 7-6, the Hope College men's lacrosse team was doing all it could to clap back at the Thunder of Trine University.
In the game's last 37 minute, the Flying Dutchmen found their biggest noise. In face-off wins and the saving power of senior goalie Nick Schanhals, pictured left, Hope reeled off 10 unanswered goals and held Trine scoreless for the last seven minutes of the first half and the entire second half to win, 16-6, on the road.
The victory moves Hope's record to 8-3 overall and 2-0 in the MIAA.
Schanhals of North Muskegon (North Muskegon HS) turned back a career-high 18 shots on goal for the game, 10 of which came during that 37-minute shutout. Five Hope face-off specialists — Cole Scheffler, Marshall VanBelkum, Andrew Pawlanta, and Nicholas Dilly — won possession on the restart 19 times to Trine's six. But in that dominating 37-minute timeframe, Hope won nine faceoffs to Trine's two.
"We had really good play, not just at the top but coming off the wings on the faceoffs," said head coach Michael Schanhals. "We were able to get possession, and that's a really big advantage against Trine because they want possession to keep the clock and keep it a low-scoring game. So that was key to give our offense more chances."
Hope's offense took advantage of its chances by sharing the ball well. On their 16 goals, the Flying Dutchmen recorded 12 assists, "a remarkable number against a defense like Trine's," Schanhals added. "We needed to pass the ball a lot against them and we passed the ball very well."
Hope was led by junior attacker Max Kuiper of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Central HS) who tallied a career-high five goals and two assists, followed by junior attacker Rocco Mularoni of Hartland (Detroit Catholic Central HS) with four goals and two assists. Senior midfielder Gino Battaglia of Dayton, Ohio (Lebanon HS)) scored three goals while sophomore Luke Elder of Grand Rapids (East Grand Rapids HS) and freshman Liam Cunningham of South Lyon (Detroit Catholic Central) each had two.
In another way, the Flying Dutchmen dominated, but it was not to their liking. Hope players spent 12 minutes in the penalty box (to Trine's 3 ½ minutes). "I'm not sure we've ever been in the box that much, but our man-down defense really gave us a lift," Schanhals said. With the help of sophomore Adam Bell of Lake Orion (Oxford HS), pictured right, a defender who specializes in man-down defense, Hope gave up only two short-handed goals to Trine.
The Flying Dutchmen will have a week off before they take on Calvin College at home on Saturday, April 13. Game time is 1:00 p.m.