DeLeo tallies eight points in Hanover's 20-2 conference-opening win at Bethany

Joe DeLeo

BETHANY, W. Va. – The Hanover men's lacrosse team scored the game's first four goals Saturday afternoon and never looked back, winning its Ohio River Lacrosse Conference opener at Bethany (W. Va.), 20-2.

The Panthers' (1-6, 1-0 ORLC) scoring explosion marked the first time since a 22-1 victory over Defiance on March 5, 2016, that the team posted 20 goals in a single game. Leading the offense Saturday was junior Joe DeLeo (Waterford, Mich.), who tallied eight total points, accumulating four goals and four assists. The junior had six of his eight shot attempts come on goal, while also pacing the Blue and Red with nine groundballs.

Hanover finished with a 58-15 edge in total shots against the Bison (1-4, 0-2 ORLC), posting 50-plus attempts for the first time since the 2017 season finale. Over the past two seasons, HC has produced a 129-42 edge in shots against Bethany.

Leading the way for the Panthers Saturday was freshman Ian Kimmins (Dayton, Ohio), who had 10 total shots. Kimmins scored four times, with three goals coming in the second half. The freshman picked up a first quarter assist as well.

Sophomore Dallas Fonner (Evansville, Ind.) scored two of his three goals in the first quarter, before finding the back of the net again in the fourth. Junior Bret Schell (Dayton, Ohio) and DeLeo added goals in the first quarter, giving HC a 4-0 advantage 15 minutes in.

After Bethany tallied the opening score of the second quarter, the Panthers rallied for seven goals, setting a new season high for a single quarter. Five different players for HC scored during the half-ending run, with DeLeo and classmate Gage Hafl (Hamilton, Ohio) beating the goalkeeper twice. Hafl finished with five points, as he added a second half goal and assists in the second and third periods.

The scoring run would move into the third quarter, out of the break, as a goal from sophomore Noah King (Lexington, Ky.) capped a 10-0 spurt at the 7:55 mark of the period. King scored twice in the third quarter, while also adding a pair of assists in the game. Hanover led 17-2 heading into the final period of play.

Fonner would get the final quarter scoring started at the 10:49 mark and two more goals from Kimmins in the final six minutes resulted in the 20-2 final score. Freshman Jackson Wheeler (Indianapolis, Ind.) and sophomore Alex Eash (Goshen, Ind.) both recorded helpers in the final frane. Wheeler joined the group of seven Panthers with multiple scores after a goal during the second quarter run.

Not to be outdone by the offensive explosion, the Panther defense stymied the Bison all afternoon, forcing Bethany into 32 turnovers. Sophomore Noah Dubrava (Centerville, Ohio) made six saves in goal, as HC conceded a single-digit goal total for the third time this season. Dubrava was also one of four Panther players with five or more groundballs, retrieving seven.

Schell and junior Al Alessia (Crown Point, Ind.) added five groundballs each, while combining for five caused turnovers. Alessia and sophomore Andrew Trachtman (Carmel, Ind.) led the way for HC in caused turnovers with three apiece.

Hanover has now won four of its last five conference openers, including three-of-four since joining the ORLC in 2015. The Panthers' lone conference-opening loss in the past five seasons was a one-goal defeat at the hands of Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) in 2017.

The Blue and Red will look to start ORLC play 2-0 for just the second time in the league's now four-year existence when they host Thiel (Pa.) next weekend. The Panthers and Tomcats are scheduled to meet at 1 p.m., Sunday, March 25.

Contact: Tyler Jester