Wilkes tops King’s in blowout fashion 12-5

Nicholas Ruggiero looking to disrupt the Monarch's offensive attack

Nicole Gaetani

Nicholas Ruggiero looking to disrupt the Monarch's offensive attack

Ben Mandell, Asst. Sports Editor

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WILKES-BARRE — The Wilkes University Colonels earned their first home conference win since their program’s revival back in 2016 with a 12-5 win.

With the win, the Colonels improve to 6-5 on the year and even up their conference record to 1-1.

The Colonels didn’t jump out to the start they wanted as the Monarch’s Shawn Dickey (14th goal of season) scored forty seconds into the game. Wilkes had a strong answer though and came through with two unanswered goals scored by Nico Lorenzo (17) and Jeremy Kachel (8).

The first quarter continued with exciting play as the action continued to go back and forth. The Monarchs answered the Kachel goal with two goals less than two and a half minutes apart by Alec Martin (2) and Dickey’s (15) second of the game. Dickey’s second goal was a very impressive shot that definitely could have qualified for goal of the game as he danced by multiple Colonel defenders towards the slot, and got a blistering shot off while taking a stick to the face from Garrett Armstrong.

The Colonels, now trailing 3-2, took about one minute and forty-five seconds to tie the game up as John Luna (8) scored with on a delayed penalty. The rest of the first half played out with these two rivals playing a strong, physical game. Wilkes’ defensemen Joseph Papa, Jack O’Connell, James Peaney, and Armstrong played phenomenal games, stepping up in front of goalie Carter Whittemore, who had potentially his best game of the season.

“It got to the point where I was treating it like a perfect game in baseball,” Colonel defenseman Gerard Setteducato said. “I was just telling everyone ‘don’t say his name.’ That’s how good he was tonight.”

Wilkes’ head coach Curtis Jaques also had high praise for his goalie and defense.

“We certainly rallied around our goalie,” Jaques said. “Carter had a heck of a game making 17 saves, but what is most impressive is that we stuck true to a good defensive game plan that they didn’t have an answer for. The six out in front of [Whittemore] really exploited some weaknesses.”

The Colonels started the second half much hotter, scoring three goals in the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter, matching their first half score. It was Kachel (9), Nicholas Ruggiero (12) and John Wink (15) who found the back of the net. The Monarchs were able to slow play down after that, but Connor Daly (7) scored with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. The scoring was not done yet, as the Colonels made one last rush in the final seconds of the quarter. The ball found its way to Wink (16) who cut to the slot and let one rip towards the net with four seconds left for his second goal of the night.

“I’m not sure what the spark was in the second half,” Jaques said. “For the first time we actually saw defense and offense find their clamps and actually put the pressure on.”

The fourth quarter was more of the same, as Wilkes kept their foot on the gas, as Ruggiero (13) and Wink (17) scored before the Monarchs were finally able to beat Whittemore. Dickey (16) weaved his way through traffic to complete the hat trick after Wink did it on the other end for the Colonels. Ruggiero (14) completed a hat trick of his own, scoring thirty seconds after Dickey, putting the Colonels back up by seven. Lorenzo (18) and Brett O’Neill (12) exchanged goals throughout the rest of the game, leading to a 12-5 final in favor of Wilkes.

“We really felt the momentum start to swing our way after the first quarter,” Jaques explained. “We were able to clamp down and have some smart possessions. All those little lacrosse IQ things we drill constantly in our practices finally came through. These guys were able to feel like they’ve been out here before.”

The Wilkes Lacrosse program revival is finally starting come to fruition as the Colonels continue to improve each season. A blowout win over King’s proves that they can compete with teams in the Middle Atlantic Conference and that the best has yet to come for the Wilkes University Colonels.

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