By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Men's Lacrosse continued its stellar start to the 2019 campaign on Saturday with a dominating performance from start to finish against Muskingum University. The Crusaders struck early and often on offense and played rock-solid defense en route to a 21-3 win over the Fighting Muskies. The win improved Capital's overall record to 8-1 and the team is 2-0 in Ohio Athletic Conference play.
Capital scored three time in the opening four minutes including the game-opening goal from Talbott Gottwals (Columbia, Md./Atholon) just 45 seconds in. Gottwals found the back of the net three times in the opening period as did CJ Hughes (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills) as the Crusaders led 8-0 after the first 15 minutes. Ryan Rampi (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) scored Capital's other two goals.
The second period proved to be not as fruitful as the first but Capital still struck six times and took a 14-0 lead into halftime. Hughes added another goal in the second to give him a game-high four on the afternoon. Luke Wyatt (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) got the run started and freshman duo Spencer Towne (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) and Nathan Mork (Granville, Ohio/Granville) each scored twice in the period. Mork's goal with 6:26 left until the half was his first collegiate score.
The Crusaders began the second half with two more unanswered goals to take a 16-0 lead before Muskingum scored its first goal of the afternoon with 9:40 left in the quarter. The Fighting Muskies then scored two more to close the game to 16-3 at the end of the third.
The Crusaders regained their defensive groove in the fourth though and did not allow another Muskingum goal while burying five goals themselves. Ed Carroll (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield) started the period with his second goal of the game before freshman Zach Whaley scored his first collegiate goal. Alex Keckler (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) scored with 11:44 remaining and then both Mork and Towne scored again to complete their hat tricks.
Hughes led the Crusaders with four goals and two assists for six points and Gottwals had three goals and two helpers for five points. Towne and Mork also scored three times while Rampi and Carroll each had two.
Starting senior goalkeeper T.J. Johnson (Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) played the first half for Capital and saved all three shots he faced in his first shutout performance of the season. With only three saves, Johnson's streak of five games with at least 10 saves was snapped. Charlie Farmer (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Jerome) played the third period in goal and allowed three scores while making one save and Josh Snyder (Sylvania, Ohio/St. Francis) played the final 15 minutes and did not face a shot.
As a team, Capital outshot Muskingum 60-21 including 39-6 in the first half. Capital also had a 42-21 advantage in ground balls and won 22 of the game's 29 faceoffs. Tyler Faig (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) went 10-for-12 on the X and Lake Harris (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) went 12-for-17.
The win, Capital's eighth in a row, gives Capital its second-longest winning streak in program history. One more will tie the program record of nine consecutive victories set in 2015. The Crusaders will look to tie that record on Wednesday, April 3 against first-year program Marietta College at Marietta. That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.