BELMONT, N.C. - Seventeen Crusaders tallied a goal and Belmont Abbey took a 26-9 victory over Lees-McRae College in Conference Carolinas tournament action this afternoon. The win moves The Abbey's record this year to 11-4. The Bobcats finish their season 2-7.
Callum Tanner was the first to score a goal, followed by a Liam Osborne score just over a minute later. Later in the half, Adam Wiedemann tallied a score that sparked a flurry of Abbey goals. Billy Huss won the ensuing faceoff, dashed downfield, and scored. Osborne, Vinny Vultaggio, and Kyle McGinley each scored during a span of 3:41 in which the Crusaders scored six goals. Belmont Abbey led 11-0 at the end of the quarter.
It took Collin Grippo less than a minute into the second to tally the first goal of the period. At the 10:44 mark, Lees-McRae scored its first goal of the contest. Then James Booth scored back-to-back goals for The Abbey and sparked a 4-0 run over a span of 3:50, making it a 16-1 lead. Later in the quarter, Ben Utrosa scored a goal, then set up Booth for a score and The Abbey own a commanding 20-4 lead at halftime. In the half, Belmont Abbey picked up 30 ground balls to Lees-McRae's eight. The strong Crusader defense also limited the Bobcats to just 11 shots in the half.
Brett Oor got the scoring started in the third off a pass from Andrew Meyer. Tyler Dalle got a man-up goal with 7:38 in the period. The Crusaders held a 23-5 advantage of the period ended. Again, the defense played very strong limiting the Bobcats to two shots in the quarter and forcing seven turnovers.
In the fourth, Connor Peterson found the back of the net just 50 seconds into the period. Then Jack Ryan set up Grant Walton for a score. Bryan DePass put the final Abbey score of the day up with a goal at the 4:35 mark, as Belmont Abbey finished off the 26-5 win.
On the day, Booth and Wiedemann each scored three goals and handed out two assists to lead the Crusaders' strong offensive attack. Utrosa contributed with three goals and one assist. Defensively, Gerard DelGrosso caused three turnovers. The Crusaders as a unit forced 19. Faceoff specialist Dylan Harmon won 13 of his 18 faceoffs and picked up a game-high 10 ground balls. Huss was 15-20 on faceoffs, and scooped up eight ground balls. As a team, Belmont Abbey recorded 50 ground balls to Lees-McRae's 22.
Belmont Abbey will next face number 2 seed Mount Olive in the Conference Carolinas semifinals, hosted by North Greenville University, in Tigerville, S.C. The game will begin on Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m.