Offense explodes for 24 goals, defense posts first shutout in four years during win over Earlham

team celebrating

HANOVER, Ind. – Behind its best offensive output of the season, the Hanover men's lacrosse team cruised to a 24-0 victory over Earlham, at home Wednesday evening, to stay unbeaten in Ohio River Lacrosse Conference play.

The Panthers (4-6) have won four straight, all of which have come in ORLC action. Hanover is the first team in the conference with four league wins this spring. With the loss, Earlham falls to 0-9 overall and 0-5 in the ORLC.

The Blue and Red's 24-goal output marks its highest offensive total in nearly three years, as the squad posted 28 goals during a road win at Franciscan (Ohio) back on April 18, 2015. Leading the present offensive production was junior Joseph DeLeo (Waterford, Mich.), who tied a career high with 11 points.

DeLeo, who now has two career games with double-digit point totals, tallied eight goals and three assists Wednesday. His eight scores are now tied for second in program history for a single game.

Adding eight total points was sophomore Noah King (Lexington, Ky.). King did all of his damage in the first half, recording three goals and a career high five assists. His five helpers placed him into the program's single game top-six list as well.

Sophomore Dallas Fonner (Evansville, Ind.) logged six points, posting three goals and three assists. Adding four total points were juniors Gage Hafl (Hamilton, Ohio), Bret Schell (Dayton, Ohio) and freshman Jackson Wheeler (Indianapolis, Ind.). Half and Schell each logged three goals and one assist, while Wheeler pitched in with two scores and two helpers.

The Panthers controlled possession for most of the game, thanks in large part to the efforts of junior Sam Green (Beaumaris, Australia) at the face-off "X". Green, who returned from a five-game absence, went 19-for-22 in face-offs, while also retrieving a team-high nine groundballs.

With the success at the "X", Hanover enjoyed a 58-2 advantage in total shots, including a 38-1 edge on goal. Sophomore Noah Dubrava (Centerville, Ohio) recorded his first career shutout, needing to make just the one save. The shutout was Hanover's third in program history and first since the 2014 campaign.

Sophomore Eric Clay (Wilmington, Del.) added seven groundballs, while also tallying one of HC's 12 caused turnovers. DeLeo paced the Panthers with three caused turnovers and junior Al Alessia (Crown Point, Ind.) added two as well.

DeLeo got the Panther offensive attack going less than one minute into play, as he was one of three players to tally multiple goals in the first quarter. With a combined six goals from DeLeo, Schell and King, Hanover led 8-0 after 15 minutes.

Wheeler closed the first quarter scoring run and sparked what would be a 10-0 goal advantage in the second with a score at the 14:05 mark. The Blue and Red posted six goals over the final 5:25 of the half to lead 18-0 at the intermission.

Hanover outscored the Quakers 6-0 over the final 30 minutes of play to produce its highest goal total of 2018. DeLeo recorded four scores in the second half with Fonner and Hafl tacking on the additional two.

Hanover will stay at home for its second of four straight outings at Alumni Stadium this weekend when they host ORLC-rival Westminster (Pa.). The Panthers and Titans, who met in a triple-overtime thriller last spring, are set to cap a home lacrosse doubleheader at approximately 1 p.m. Saturday, April 7.

Contact: Tyler Jester