On the late afternoon of Saturday, March 26th, the Montclair State Men’s Lacrosse team left the field at Albright College’s Shirk Stadium feeling as cool as the weather they just played in, beating the Albright Lions by a dominating 15-8 and pushing their win streak to three games.
Senior midfielder Zach Schreck and senior and junior attackers Brett Mangan and Brady Wulster led the Red Hawks to their road victory two-and-a-half hours away from Montclair State’s campus. Schreck and Mangan led the team with 6 points each, and Wulster wasn’t far behind at 4 points of his own, including 3 goals.
“Zach’s an incredible outside shooter, same with Mangan,” said Montclair State Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Michael Schambach. “They were really seeing the cage well and putting the ball in good spots. Wulster’s our inside guy.”
Albright quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead just under a minute into the game. But then the nearly 250 spectators had the chance to view two of MSU’s most overpowering goal streaks of the season, as they posted 7 unanswered goals during the late first and early second quarters, as well as another 6 unanswered in the fourth quarter, with 6 of those 13 coming from the aforementioned trio of Red Hawks.
But hidden between these two strong runs was a 6-2 run by Albright. At the end of it, the game was a much closer 9-7. But Coach Schambach believes this may have been a pivotal moment for the team’s possible future successes.
“It was good for us to go through that and the way we responded was important,” said Schambach. “And I think that’s the best thing we can take from it.”
MSU was the clear aggressor during the game, taking a total of 36 shots, 14 more than the Lions. Well over half of those shots came on the goal of struggling sophomore Lions’ goalie Ryan Aler, who left the game with a .423 save percentage.
“That’s our game,” said Schambach. “Our game is really tempo and momentum and we really seized the opportunities that we had.”
This win solidifies the Red Hawks’ three game win streak, all games in which they’ve posted double-digit goals, a sign the slower offense characteristic of their early season struggles is a thing of the past.
“I am surprised that going into the season we really thought the defense was going to be the side of the ball we would have to be concerned with, and early on, it really was the offensive personnel,” said Schambach.
The defending Skyline Conference champion Red Hawks are a mere week and a half away from their first conference game. The subsequent Skyline Conference and NCAA tournaments are really when the Red Hawks want to be at their best though.
“It’s a good time to be playing well, granted, our goal is to be playing our best lacrosse in May,” said Schambach.
The next obstacle standing in between their ultimate tournament goals is the 16th ranked Stevens Institute of Technology, who jumped to a 7-2 record after an astounding 22-10 win over Alfred University this past weekend, showcasing the powerful offense the Red Hawks are already preparing to defend against.
“It’s exciting moving forward because at this point we do feel that we can play with anybody, and we can beat anybody,” said Schambach. “And that’s nationally.”