Panther Lacrosse heats up in second half to defeat Marquette

Bradley Thomas fights through a Mustang defender

Bradley Thomas fights through a Mustang defender (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nathan Poignee)

The O’Fallon boys’ lacrosse team made smart and quick adjustments Thursday night for a dominant 18-8 win over the Marquette Mustangs.

The first half of play was loaded with back-and-forth scoring by both teams. O’Fallon (10-2) struck early in the opening quarter with goals from seniors Mike Foytlin and Harrison Berry. Marquette answered back quickly with a pair of goals of their own. The two teams continued to rifle off points until Marquette broke away for a two goal lead to start the second quarter.

Marquette senior, Matthew Hummel, proved to be a menace for the Panther defense early on. Hummel worked his way down low and netted himself a hat trick early in the game.

After a time out in the second quarter, the Panthers regrouped and picked up their pace. Foytlin and Harrison both struck again for their second goals of the night and senior Shane McIntyre got on the board for a 7-6 Panther lead.  The Panthers struck three more times in the third quarter and pulled ahead 10-6 at the half. O’Fallon senior Caleb Neff scored his second of the game on an outstanding finish off a flurry of tic-tac-toe passes. Foyltin completed a hat trick with just eight seconds left in the second quarter.

Shane McIntyre battles on the ground for the face-off

Shane McIntyre battles on the ground for the face-off (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nathan Poignee)

The second half was all Panthers to say the least.

With some quick adjustments the O’Fallon team dominated the field and added eight goals to their half time lead while only allowing one.

Varsity head coach Jim McIntyre credits the second half turn around to his team’s ability to adapt on their own.

“Normally we give the team a lot of pre-game pointers. Things to be prepared for, to guard against and to exploit. For this game we purposefully didn’t do that. We could have, but the coaching staff wanted the team to recognize their opponent’s strengths and weakness on their own.  It was most impressive to see the team deal with it themselves and handle the adversity. They made all the adjustments on their own, not the coaches,” said McIntyre.

Most notably the Panther attackers efficiently found a way to generate offensive opportunities down low.

“The offense figured out where they could exploit and understood that Marquette was not finding an answer for Foytlin and Berry. We continued to generate offense from behind the net and took over the game,” said McIntyre.

Mike Foytlin lauches a pass from behind Marquettes net

Mike Foytlin lauches a pass from behind Marquettes net (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nathan Poignee)

By defeating the Marquette Mustangs the Panthers improve their overall record to 10-2. With just two games left in the regular season, McIntyre and the Panthers are gearing up for post-season play. The remaining two games this season will however be anything but easy.

Next Monday the Panthers will host St. Louis University High School and on Wednesday they wrap the regular season up with Parkway West.