Dubrava's season-high 15 saves aid Panthers in 8-7 win over Thiel

Noah Dubrava

HANOVER, Ind. – Sophomore Noah Dubrava (Centerville, Ohio) made a season high 15 saves and the Hanover men's lacrosse team held off a late rally by Thiel (Pa.), Sunday afternoon, winning at home, 8-7.

In a rematch of an 11-10 overtime thriller at Thiel (1-5, 0-2 ORLC) last season, it was Hanover that earned the one-goal victory this time. The win improves the Panthers to 2-6 overall this spring and 2-0 in Ohio River Lacrosse Conference play for the second time in three seasons.

Dubrava made eight of his season-high save total in the second half, including five in the third and three in the fourth quarter. The sophomore also closed any open windows on goal in the closing seconds, as Thiel's shot attempt to tie the contest as time expired went off the cross bar. Dubrava recorded five groundballs in the win as well.

The Tomcats were the first ones to find the back of the net in the opening quarter, but back-to-back goals from sophomore Dallas Fonner (Evansville, Ind.) and junior Al Alessia (Crown Point, Ind.) gave HC its first advantage of the game, 2-1, with 9:30 left in the first. Alessia would finish with four shots in the game, including three on goal. Thiel would tie it up before the end of the period and the game would be in a 2-2 stalemate after 15 minutes of action.

The Tomcats recaptured the lead less than three minutes into the second quarter, but four answered goals by the Panthers gave them a 6-3 lead at halftime. During the 4-0 scoring spurt, HC was a perfect three-for-three in extra-man opportunities, with juniors Bret Schell (Dayton, Ohio) and Joseph DeLeo (Waterford, Mich.), along with sophomore Patrick Boylston (Boca Raton, Fla.) all scoring a man-up. DeLeo also picked up an even strength goal and an assist during the scoring run to pace the Blue and Red with three points Sunday.

Out of the break, Thiel was the first to score again, as consecutive goals over the first seven minutes closed its deficit to one, 6-5. Sophomore Noah King (Lexington, Ky.) recorded the game's next goal at the 1:33 mark of the third quarter and with less than 10 seconds remaining in the period, freshman Jackson Wheeler (Indianapolis, Ind.) tallied his fifth goal of the season, extending the HC advantage back to three, 8-5, with 15 minutes left to play.

Two goals from the Tomcats in the final three minutes pulled them within one again, 8-7, with 26 seconds showing on the clock. After winning the face-off and calling timeout, Thiel's pass from behind the goal found a player at the top of the attack zone, but as mentioned before, the shot attempt was no good, going off the cross bar.

Thiel used a 20-12 second half edge in shots to enjoy a 33-29 advantage for the game. Each side recorded 31 groundballs, but Hanover's advantage came at the face-off "X," where Schell went 10-for-18. Schell would retrieve a team-high nine groundballs as well, while also leading HC in shots with seven.

Defensively, Hanover caused nine of Thiel's 21 turnovers, with junior Evan Bartlett (Oxford, Ohio) leading the way with three. Andrew Trachtman (Carmel, Ind.) was one of six Hanover players to force a Tomcat turnover, as the sophomore also recorded four groundballs from his defensive position.

The Panthers are one of just four ORLC teams with an unblemished record league record after Sunday's slate of games. Hanover will look to stay unbeaten in conference play when they travel to take on first-year program Chatham (Pa.) at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 31.

Contact: Tyler Jester