HIGH POINT, N.C. – After the first 15 minutes of play, it appeared as though High Point would score another dominating victory.
A year removed from a 13-0 win over the Bonnies in St. Bonaventure's first game as a Division I program, the Panthers, who started the year in the national Top 20 and just missed making the NCAA Tournament as an at-large, entered the day with a deceiving 1-5 record after losses against four Top-15 opponents.
High Point proved why they entered the year with high hopes in the early going, but St. Bonaventure showed much grit in an impressive final 45 minutes before ultimately dropping a 13-8 decision.
In doing so, the Bonnies showed how far they've come since the February day they began the rebirth of their program on the same field last year.
Jackson Rose delivered his second career hat trick and fifth in program history by finding the back of the cage three times on his only three shots. Freshman Bryan Rafferty posted his first two collegiate goals and classmate Mark Belles handed out a career-high three assists to lead the Bona offense.
Rose scores his second of the night ���� pic.twitter.com/Am5sX9tDyF— Bonnies Men's Lacrosse (@BonniesMLAX) March 2, 2020
The Panthers started red hot, striking first at the 13:48 mark and then again just seven seconds later to stun the Bonnies early.
Three more goals between 11:12 and 9:57 remaining on the first quarter clock immediately gave the Panthers a 5-0 lead before Bona would get on the board on a shot from Rafferty off a pass from Belles. For Rafferty it marked his first collegiate goal.
Two freshmen working together to get the Bonnies on the board as Rafferty deposits the feed from Belles into the back of the cage ������ pic.twitter.com/bb63qmvIka— Bonnies Men's Lacrosse (@BonniesMLAX) March 2, 2020
High Point would take a 7-1 cushion into the second quarter, but the Bonnies began to play much better in the second 15 minutes. The defense locked in, holding the Panthers off the board for the entire quarter while two goals helped chip away at the deficit.
Rose scored on the man-up, then, with 4:47 left in the half, Zack Belter fired a rocket from past midfield for a scorching long pole goal and a 7-3 score that would remain into intermission.
Who doesn't love a long pole goal?— Bonnies Men's Lacrosse (@BonniesMLAX) March 2, 2020
Belter strikes from deeeeeep �� pic.twitter.com/91z1ziUYWC
Just as in the first half, though, the Panthers would tally an early goal to begin the third as Chris Price struck just 35 seconds into the third for an 8-3 advantage.
From there, the Panthers never surrendered control, but St. Bonaventure provided many more building blocks in its continued growth as a program.
Nine different Bonnies players registered points and SBU scored four times in the fourth quarter to pull within five at the final buzzer. After the first quarter that ultimately decided the game, the Bonnies outscored High Point 7-6.
High Point held a 42-29 advantage in shots, but the Bonnies defense caused a program-record 12 turnovers led by four from Belter and three by Nick Conklin.
Asher Nolting led all players with five points for the hosts.
Brett Dobson made several highlight reel saves and finished with 15 stops total on the night.
Dobson says ���� pic.twitter.com/5ix1TedQmk— Bonnies Men's Lacrosse (@BonniesMLAX) March 2, 2020
St. Bonaventure (0-5) returns to action Wednesday at Mercer. Opening faceoff in Macon, Ga. is slated for 2 p.m.
- Austin Blumbergs and Cian Collins also tallied fourth quarter goals. Blumbergs added three groundballs and one caused turnover as well as registered six shots.
- Belles' three assists tie a program record established by Sean Westley last year vs. Detroit.
- The Bonnies held an opponent scoreless for an entire quarter for the second time in program history – they also did so at home in the first quarter vs. Monmouth last year.
- Rafferty has points in four of five games this year.
- Belter tallied his first goal of the season after scoring twice last year. His four caused turnovers are just one off the program record of five set by Conklin last year. He also added three groundballs.
- Westley, Brady Wijbrandts and Ben Garcia were also credited with assists.
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