CHC senior Alec Dambach (right foreground) shoots the ball a little under the crossbar to beat Dominican goalie Matthew Sandelier. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

A Chestnut Hill College lacrosse game had been postponed just a week earlier because the Griffins’ victory field was covered by snow, but last Saturday fans in short sleeves enjoyed temperatures above 70 degrees as they watched the CHC men’s team perform.

Senior attack Tanner Fisher scored two of his game-high five goals in the first half as Chestnut Hill got the jump on the visiting Dominican College Chargers and built an 11-4 lead before the intermission. The Griffins wound up with two goals apiece from seniors Alec Dambach and Andrew Dooley, junior Dylan Klusaritz, and sophomore Casey Brown as they stretched their lead to double digits late in the game (17-7) before Dominican tallied twice in the finals seconds for a 17-9 verdict.

Starting and playing a few minutes into the fourth quarter, senior goalie Tom McDermott registered 15 saves as CHC rose above the .500 mark overall at 3-2, and climbed to 2-0 within the East Coast Conference.

“We gave up two [goals] there at the end, but all-in-all I thought we played pretty well,” stated head coach Brian Dougherty, now in his sixth season. “We have a big week coming up with two more league games, and if we get those we’ll be 5-2. I kind of like where we’re at right now at 3-2, although we really could be 4-1, because we were leading most of the way against Florida Tech [on a two-game sojourn to the Sunshine State] and then we let that one get away from us.”

In recent games against a common opponent, L.I.U. Post, CHC had won 7-6 in overtime while Dominican had been drubbed, 13-1.

Still, Dominican is a rival in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference as well as in the ECC, and Dougherty pointed out, “I don’t think we’re a team that’s good enough to flat-out take anybody for granted. Today we were concentrating on playing our own game and having our team play as well as we could.”

Both CHC and Dominican are affiliated with the CACC in most of their intercollegiate sports. All but two member schools are now playing men’s lacrosse, and the sport will receive official recognition in the conference next spring. With its program now in its seventh year, Chestnut Hill should have an edge over the CACC newcomers for the immediate future.

“It’ll be nice because we won’t have to travel as far as we do with some games now,” Dougherty said, “and any time you add teams, it’s good for the sport.”

Sophomore Matt Anderson got Chestnut Hill on the board three minutes into last Saturday’s contest, and Klusaritz fired his first goal about two minutes later. Before another minute elapsed senior Sean Driscoll broke the ice for Dominican, but then Fisher, Dambach, and Dooley all rippled the ropes to put the Griffins in command, 5-1, by the end of the first quarter.

The Chargers’ offense was a bit more effective in the second stanza, but they were still doubled up by the Griffins, 6-3, for the 11-4 halftime tally.

The figures on the scoreboard changed more slowly during a 2-2 third quarter, then Fisher deposited his fourth goal early in the final round to make it 14-6. When play stopped briefly due to a penalty on Dominican with 9:45 left to play, CHC brought McDermott to the sideline and sent in freshman Steve Hogan to finish the game in goal.

Sophomore Michael DelGiorno tacked the last point onto the home side of the board with 21 seconds remaining to give the Griffins a 10-goal lead, but the Chargers generated enough energy at the end to score twice in the final nine seconds. In addition to the scorers already mentioned, CHC received single strikes from junior Joshua Pope and freshman Carson Rees.

“I wanted us to play fast, and I wanted us to pressure them defensively,” said Dougherty. “For the most part, we did that.”

Despite Fisher’s strong showing, Dambach remained the team’s leading scorer, and he’s consistently a spark plug for the attack, according to his coach. At the other end, senior McDermott has three seasoned classmates playing defense in front of him, Dan DePasquale, Jim DeCarlo (a La Salle High School grad), and Mark Pascetta.

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