LANCASTER, Pa. – Junior attackman A.J. Witherell (Wilmington, Del. / Salesianum) tallied five goals and two assists to lead the Washington and Lee men's lacrosse team to a 12-10 victory over 11th-ranked Franklin & Marshall on Saturday at Shadek Stadium.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak against the Diplomats and improved W&L to 2-3 on the season. With the loss, F&M fell to 3-1 on the year.
The Generals wasted no time seizing the upper hand in the contest, starting with a four-goal flurry in the opening 3:21 of the contest. Witherell began the scoring just seven seconds into the game when sophomore midfielder Jack Hodgson (Richmond, Va. / St. Christopher's) won the opening faceoff and fed Witherell for a 1-0 lead. Witherell scored unassisted 52 seconds later and sophomore midfielder Garrett Cannon (Wilmington, Del. / Salesianum) gave W&L a 3-0 lead with an unassisted goal at the 12:45 mark. Witherell then fed junior long-stick midfielder Drew Barnard (Darien, Conn. / Brunswick School) who found the back of the net for a 4-0 lead at the 11:39 mark of the first quarter.
F&M fought back with three straight goals to make it a 4-3 game with 12:54 left in the second quarter, but the Generals used a three-goal run of their own, including two from Witherell, for a 7-3 lead with 1:27 left in the half. F&M sophomore attackman Kevin Mollihan added a final score with 1:03 left, as W&L headed into the locker room for halftime with a 7-4 advantage.
The Blue & White opened a seven-goal lead midway through the third quarter on the strength of another four-goal run out of the halftime break. Senior attackman Sam Dardani (Waccabuc, N.Y. / Westminster) got it started with a goal off an assist from sophomore midfielder Hudson Hamill (Darien, Conn. / Darien) just 13 seconds into the third period, and A.J. Witherell fed first-year attackman Taylor Witherell (Wilmington, Del. / Salesianum) for another goal at 10:41 that made it 9-4. First-year midfielder Ben Mulholland (Sewickley, Pa. / Sewickley Academy) posted an unassisted tally at 8:34 and Dardani scored his second goal of the game at 8:09 for an 11-4 advantage.
The Diplomats got back into the contest with a five-goal run of their own that made it an 11-9 game early in the fourth quarter. Senior attackman Sean Rogers totaled two goals and one assist during the F&M scoring surge that ended with a man-up goal by senior midfielder Harry Rice with 11:28 remaining in the contest.
W&L stopped the momentum for the Diplomats, as Hodgson won the ensuing faceoff and immediately fed A.J. Witherell, who fired home a shot at 11:20 for a 12-9 lead. For Witherell, it was the 100th goal of his career.
Mollihan added one more score for F&M, but first-year goalkeeper Will Atkins (Washington, D.C. / St. Albans) made a pair of saves after that point, and the Generals' defense forced several key turnovers that ended the comeback attempt.
Franklin & Marshall held a 32-31 edge in shots, while W&L claimed a 37-34 advantage in ground balls.
A.J. Witherell added six ground balls to his scoring total (seven pts.) that moved him into the Top 10 on the school's career scoring list. He now resides in ninth-place with 167 points (100 goals, 67 assists).
Dardani finished with two goals, while Cannon tallied one goal and one assist. Hodgson notched two assists, winning 13-of-24 faceoffs for the day. Atkins finished with 11 saves in 60 minutes between the pipes.
Mollihan paced the Diplomats with four goals. Rogers had two goals and one assist, and Rice posted two goals as well. Junior Scott Hatch played all 60 minutes in goal and recorded 11 saves.
Washington and Lee returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to Mary Washington for a 3:30 pm contest.