Andersson/Knippel Have Big Days in Loss to Lewis
Romeoville, IL. – On Saturday, the Wheeling University Men's Lacrosse team (0-1, 0-0) opened their 2022 season with a trip to Chicago to face Lewis University. Their top two scorers from a year ago had big days, but the Flyer's offense was too strong as Wheeling fell 18-6. It was a strong start for the Cardinals, but a nine-goal second quarter was enough to sink Wheeling on the day.
Mike Andersson and Jacob Knippel led the offense with two goals each in the game while Andersson tied for the team lead with two assists. Both Andersson and Knippel took three shots, putting all three of them on goal. Brody Fawver added two assists of his own and Wheeling saw goals from Fawver and Dakota Strong in the game. Matt Anderson led the way with 18 faceoffs, going 1-18 in those attempts. However, Wheeling's most successful player in faceoffs was John Zaramba who finished the day 3-5. It was a big showing for the Cardinal's offense to start the season and the Cardinal's defense got a chance to face some tough competition as they prepare for the rest of the season.
Early on, it was a defensive battle as both teams were vying for possession of the ball. In the first four minutes of the first quarter, the teams combined to turn the ball over four times. However, Lewis was taking most of the shots, outshooting Wheeling 4-1 during that time. Those shots would payoff as the Flyers scored the first goal of the game at the 9:40 mark of the first quarter. Wheeling didn't take long to respond as a minute later Knippel scored his first goal of the season to make it a 1-1 game. A few minutes later, Wheeling would take their first lead of the game after a Lewis penalty had them in a man-up situation. Anderson would take advantage of the opportunity and found the net to bring the score to 2-1 with 6:40 left in the first. Lewis would tie the game once again at the 5:12 mark, but a goal by Fawver in the final minute gave Wheeling the 3-2 lead at the end of the first.
However, as the game moved to the second quarter, Lewis upped their offensive game and took the lead back and then some. They scored six goals in the first eight minutes of the second quarter to turn what was a 3-2 Wheeling lead into an 8-3 deficit. The Flyers added three more goals before quarter's end and went into halftime leading 11-3. The Cardinals had a shot at the end of the second quarter when Anderson picked up a groundball and headed towards the goal. He had a shot lined up but it ended up going wide as the clock expired, ending the half. Wheeling ended up taking seven shots in that first half and put four of those shots on net. They were efficient with their opportunities but they were looking to create more as the game moved into the second half.
Wheeling would get that opportunity right off the opening face-off when Matt Anderson won the opening face-off. Mike Andersson picked up the groundball and took a shot on net that ended up being saved. Lewis would rebound and notched their first goal of the second half at the 13:16 mark of the second half to bring the game to 12-3. The Cardinals would respond with Andersson's second goal of the season a minute later bringing the score to 12-4. Knippel kept right up with him in the next minute cutting the game to a seven-point deficit with his second goal of the season. The Flyers added six more goals in the third quarter and the game moved into its final 15 minutes with Wheeling trailing 18-5.
As the fourth quarter began, Wheeling would get off to another hot start, taking two minutes to score their first goal of the quarter. It came via Dakota Strong, who scored his first goal of the season and brought the game to its final score of 18-6. The Wheeling defense played some of its best defense in that fourth quarter as they held Lewis off the board. It was the only quarter where the Flyers did not score and it was a great effort by goalie Christian Nestor. Nestor played the final 15 minutes of the game and made one save while not allowing a goal. Starting goalie Joshua Wolford got the start and made 13 saves while allowing 18 goals in the game.