Tigerville, SC – Your Crusaders rolled over the competition on Saturday defeating the Hawks from Chowan University by a final score of 22 to 3. North Greenville scored early and often taking control of the game in the first quarter. Jon Watson (Senior) dominated the faceoff dot for the Crusaders and both sides of the field took care of business in route to the 19-goal victory.
The Crusaders started the game playing to their strengths both offensively and defensively; senior captain Alex Proly scored the first goal of the game at the 13:32 mark off of a feed from Thomas Cecere (Freshman). The Crusaders worked the ball down the left side of the goal, drew a slide, and found Proly on the backside for an easy step-down shot. On the other side of the ball Coach Corey Struss double polled the Hawk midfield playing to the strength of the experienced defense. The Hawks scored a goal to tie the game at one, until Kyle Hunziker (Senior) netted his first goal of the afternoon; 30 seconds later Chris Carpenter (Senior) scored to extend the Crusader lead. Hunziker scored one more goal before the game was put on delay thanks to lightning around Tigerville. The teams were stabled for over an hour before the weather cleared out of the way and play could resume.
Coming out of the rain delay gave the Crusader memories of games past and the team vowed to come out on the right side of the delay this time around. Not a minute out of the delay Chris Wieckhorst (Junior) took the ball coast-to-coast and sniped the top left corner of the cage in transition. Jaren Szafranski (Senior) played lights out on the defensive side of the ball knocking down passes and causing turnovers. Szafranski caused a turnover in the corner of the field and kicked the ball free to a teammate to get the ball to the offensive end. Austin Dixon (Junior) scored one more goal in the first quarter to give the Crusaders a 6 to 1 lead heading into the second quarter.
On a humid and hot day in Tigerville the Crusaders played through the sweat and dominated the second quarter scoring 5 goals including a last second goal to end the half. The second quarter started on a hard note for the Crusaders as the team received a three-minute non-releasable penalty for an illegal crosse. The defense stood tall and killed the entire man-down opportunity, which featured two incredible saves from goalie Braeden Dixon (Junior). After the kill, Cecere netted two back-to-back goals at the beginning of the period pushing the Crusader lead. Ethan Landreth (Senior) scored an absolute rocket of a shot that pinged the top right corner of the goal. The Hawks scored a second goal during an unsettled situation, but Proly and Cecere scored in the final minute of the half. Cecere’s goal was assisted by Carpenter but started on a tough ground ball won by Szafranski in the corner.
The second half was more of the same for the Crusaders, however, the team found scoring from non-traditional sources. Kenney Wessels (Junior) started the half out for the Crusaders scoring off of a feed from Landreth. Hunziker scored his third goal of the season at the 8:55 mark in the quarter extending the lead to the over ten goals. The 13th goal of the game was special for the Crusaders as Mitch Garrett (Senior) took the ball off of a faceoff and netted the first goal of his North Greenville career from 13 yards out. Garrett looked off the defender, wound up, and placed the ball directly over the left shoulder of the goalie. Chowan scored their last goal of the game off of a botched recovery by the Crusaders, but Corey Long (Sophomore) gave the Crusaders all of the momentum as he scored a behind-the-back goal that broght all of the fans in Pepsi stadium to their feet.
The final quarter of play was all Crusader as the offense held the ball for nearly 11-minutes of the quarter. Wessels again got the quarter started for the Crusaders as he worked his way through the heart of the defense and finished the ball in tight. The final quarter was a lacrosse clinic as the Crusaders scored in various ways. Fletcher Steveson (Junior) took a dodge down the left alley and drilled the top right corner for the Crusaders 17th goal of the game. Matt Miller (Junior), Brendan Sullivan (Sophomore), and Tyler Holland (Senior) all netted goals for the Crusaders in the final quarter. The most exciting goal of the quarter came from Jake Aaron (Junior) who picked up a ground ball in between the boxes and played out a give-and-go with Wessels for his first goal of his North Greenville career.
The Crusaders played as a team and shared the ball well offensively. Multiple Crusaders scored on the afternoon, but Kyle Hunziker and Thomas Cecere both netted 3 goals apiece. Mitch Garrett and Jake Aaron scored their first goal at North Greenville electrifying the crowd in Pepsi stadium and starting a mosh pit on the North Greenville sideline. Defensively, Jaren Szafranski played an incredible game finishing with 3 caused turnovers and 2 groundballs.
The Crusaders will now host Barton College next Saturday, April 20th for Senior night. This will be the final home game of the regular season for your Crusaders. That game is set to faceoff at noon with festivities prior to the game.