Editors Note: With the NCLL Fallball season underway and me camping out For Rise Of Skywalker tickets, we managed to get a hold of Mike Wells to capture as much Midwest/Deep South Conference action as possible. Mike not only takes great photos but keeps notes on all the action. Here’s his latest report.
It was Family Weekend at Xavier University and the fans were out in large numbers to cheer on the Xavier Musketeer’s Men’s Lacrosse team as they took the field against the visiting Mount Vernon Nazarene University Cougars. Instead of playing on the grass fields next to the tennis courts like the Men’s Lacrosse team normally does, the Xavier University Club Sports organized the game to be played on Corcoran Filed, the turf field where home soccer games are held at Xavier. The facility was beautiful. The only thing it lacked was a working scoreboard. This would play a key part later on in the game.
After the two teams traded possessions to start the game, Xavier’s #22 Joey would put Xavier up 1-0 early on. With 20:00 quarters, a high scoring game was expected. #2 Townsend of Mount Vernon would take a HUGE HIT to the head just moments later, giving the Cougars a one-man advantage (non-releasable) for 2:00. The Cougars would quickly turn over the ball and the Musketeers would score a short-handed goal and take the 2-0 lead. 4:00 later, Xavier would add another goal to bring the score to 3-0 in favor of the Musketeers. At this point, it looked like the day was going to belong to Xavier and Mount Vernon had traveled to Cincinnati to simply be embarrassed.
With 2:00 to play in the first quarter, #16 Hunt of Mount Vernon would be penalized for 2:00 (non-releasable) for a kick to the head. However, this did not faze Freshman Goalie, #10 Hageman of Mount Vernon. Hageman had let three past him in the last 18:00, but he would refuse to be scored on again. With :02 to go in the first quarter, #8 Bailey would find himself with the ball and headed towards the Xavier goal. #88 Derek (the starting Xavier Goalie) was missing in action. #7 Sweeney was in at goalie for Xavier. #8 Bailey sent a shot and a prayer towards Sweeney… and his prayer was answered! Bailey put the Cougars on the board and brought the score to 3-1 in favor of Xavier at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was all about penalties and poor ball control. Neither team was passing the ball very well, and once they got their passing down, players simply could not sustain control of the ball very long. Stealing, slashing, tripping, all calls that were being made on both teams. Over halfway through the second quarter #34 Bashnagel fired a shot from 13 yards out… it passed by Sweeney and the Cougars were within 1 by the score of 3-2. The penalties continued. Slashing against Mount Vernon, Tripping on Xavier, and neither team would really be able to take advantage of the situations. Xavier would keep the lead headed into the half at 3-2. #10 Hageman had stopped 14 of 17 shots on goal for the Cougars and already had MVP written on him going into the half.
As the third quarter started, penalties kept coming. Tripping, slashing, pushes to the back… It seemed like every time the game got back to even strength, one team would commit a penalty and give the other team a man-up advantage. After 18:00 of no goals, #7 Mitch put a ball into the Xavier goal to bring the score to 3-3. The Cougars had successfully scored 3 unanswered goals after Xavier opened up the game with 3 unanswered goals of their own. The third quarter would end with the score locked at 3-3. Cougars #15 Kahoun rushed over to the Medical Trainer on-site. Kahoun said, “I can’t feel my hand. I can’t move my fingers too much.” The Trainer looked at him and said, “Yep… I’m pretty sure it’s broken.” Kahoun would not return to the game due to this injury.
Both teams would open the fourth quarter with missed opportunities. Primarily thanks to the great saves being made by the goalies. #26 of Xavier had two great shots on goal, but #10 Hageman was like a magnet to the ball, stopping anything that came his way. Xavier turned the ball over several times thanks to #10 Hageman simply stopping the ball and catching it instead of letting it go by and allowing the Musketeers to regain possession and try again.
With 9:00 to play and the score locked at 3-3, #82 Hauger found the net and put the Cougars up 4-3. The Cougars now had 4 unanswered goals against a struggling Xavier team. A team that started out with a 3-0 lead very early on.
With 3:15 to play Xavier took a timeout. The referee asked the Xavier bench what the score was, and the Xavier players all said, “4-4.” The Mount Vernon bench was in shock. We asked the referee what the score was and the referee replied, “Xavier is the home team. They say the score is 4-4, and that’s what we’re going with.” With the scoreboard at the stadium not functioning and no other score visible for the players or the fans, all the referee’s were going off of was the word of the Xaiver bench.
Time expired with the Mount Vernon Nazarene Cougars winning the game by the score of 4-3, but the referee shouted, “Overtime! Sudden death! 5:00 until faceoff!” The fans started to exit the bleachers, Mount Vernon players were removing their gloves, but the Xavier players were ready for overtime. Upon asking the Xavier bench when the fourth goal was scored, players replied that they scored it “in the first quarter”, claiming that the score was 4-1 at the end of the first quarter instead of 3-1. The coaches met at center field with the referees as the Mount Vernon stats personel ran onto the field to argue the score. Nothing convinced the referee that the game was over. He had already called overtime and that was what we were going to do. Mount Vernon players pointed up at the Xavier camera and film crew while they shouted, “Watch the film!”
We asked Ryan Bailey, the Mount Vernon Defensive Coordinator his thoughts about the 4-4 score before overtime started. Bailey replied, “Well, it gives us a chance to work on our overtime scenarios, and we’ll still beat them. Watch…” The fans returned to their seats. The adrenaline on the Mount Vernon bench was intense. It was as if the Musketeers had lit a fire under the Cougars, and here they came… #7 Mitch found the goal just over 4:00 into the overtime period. The Cougars stormed the field shouting, “We beat them twice!” in pure celebration. The Musketeers made their way to their bench with their heads held down in shame.
4-3, 5-4, 5-3… However you want to call it, the larger number on everybody’s scoreboard belonged to the Mount Vernon Nazarene Cougars at the end of the day. And whether Xavier scored 3 goals or the 4 goals that they claim to have scored in the first quarter, the harsh reality for the Musketeers is that they played over 64:00 without a goal against the Cougars and #10 Hageman in goal (the 15th minute of the 1st quarter was the last recorded goal scored by Xavier).
#10 Hageman was given the Hard Hat by Head Coach, Ryan Farr for the MVP award. Hageman recorded 19 saves on the day. Another standout player for the Cougars was #2 Townsend. Townsend had 4 assists on 4 of the 5 Cougar goals. The large amount of family and friends, the fans, the overtime period that wasn’t needed… nothing was going to stop the Cougars from claiming victory at Xavier.