SCHENECTADY — Call it a long-distance dedication from Frank Bailey Field Wednesday night.
“I know all the alums, they’ve got a special thing against Williams, so we did this for them,” Union College junior midfielder Zach Davis said of the Dutchmen’s 12-4 win over the Ephs in men’s lacrosse action.
Union coach Derek Witheford — class of 2011 — echoed the sentiment.
“Beating Williams is always a good game, no matter how much you beat them by,” Witheford said.
Union, ranked fifth and sixth in the two Division III national polls, got good performances from every aspect of the game in improving to 4-0. Faceoff man Matthew Paolatto went 13 of 15. Union won the ground ball battle 44-25. The offense hit double-digits for the fourth time. And the four goals were the fewest the defense has allowed this season. Goalie Dan Donahue finished with 11 saves.
“It felt great, but it all starts with our goalie and our faceoff unit,” Davis said. “Those guys were on fire the entire game, so I give it to them.”
“Our defense played well, but it really started with our faceoff guy, Matt Paolatto, dominating possession,” Witheford said. “We didn’t have to defend them as many times as they had to defend us. It was a lot easier to cut down possessions and limit their chances.”
The teams traded scores through the first quarter, ending tied at 2. The Dutchmen went on a 5-0 run over a nearly 10-minute span in the second quarter to take a 7-2 lead. It started with a highlight-reel play to make it 3-2. Attackman Jake Mabardy gathered a ground ball with two Williams players on him, spun around another defender and fed Peter Burnes, cutting from behind the goal, and Burnes scored.
Peter Kip scored two of his four goals in the run, along with a goal from Davis and another one from Burnes.
The teams each had a goal in the third to make it an 8-4 Union lead, but it was the last time the Ephs (1-1) scored.
“We knew they had a really strong midfield unit, so our plan was just to double-pole the middies and send a [short-stick midfielder] down low,” short-stick defensive midfielder Jake Titus said. “I feel like our D-mid group played great, and our defense all around, so can’t complain with four goals the whole game.”
“They allowed us to get on the field and get some good offense going,” said Davis, who had two goals and three assists. “But that was the game plan: we shut them down on offense, and overall, just a good game.”
Union certainly would have scored more if not for the strong play of Williams goalie Matthew Freitas, who made 16 saves, including several difficult ones.
“I think today was just a great testament to our defense, and now it feels like we’re really clicked and ready to go forward,” Titus said.
Union finishes its four-game homestand on Saturday against Emerson.
Williams 2 1 1 0 — 4
Union 2 5 1 4 — 12
Williams scoring: Glavin 2-1, Goodbar 2-0. Union scoring: Kip 4-0, Davis 2-3, Burnes 2-1, Greene 1-2, McEvoy 1-1, Shaw 1-0, Blasi 1-0, Mabardy 0-1. Goalies: Williams, Freitas, 16 saves; Schrock, 1 save. Union, Donahue, 11 saves.