HAVERFORD, Pa. – Goalkeeper Joe Banno played an extraordinary game for the 11th-ranked Haverford College men's lacrosse team Wednesday night as the junior netminder and the defenders he relies on for aid helped down visiting Muhlenberg College, 7-6, in Centennial Conference action under the lights of Swan Field. The Fords (8-3, 3-2 CC) got 19 saves from Banno in the win over the Mules (3-7, 1-4) who outshot the home team 39-18.
David Whitcomb and Dillon Hamill were two of the five key defenders that helped keep Banno's night from needing to be even more spectacular. Both registered three caused turnovers while Hamill picked up three ground balls to two for Whitcomb. Scott Kelley had a team-high five ground balls for the defensive corp while Alexander Douglas (1 caused turnover, 3 ground balls) and Sage Disch (1 caused turnovers) completed the stellar night for Banno's last line of defense.
Early play in the league outing looked initially like it might be a Haverford rout as the home team netted three goals in the game's first eight minutes. The Mules, who registered 12 shots in the quarter, answered, though, with two markers of their own before the first horn.
The Fords added the first two goals of the second period to extend their lead but the Mules' Corey Aferiat angled forward from a little behind Banno's right side and scored the visitor's lone goal of the frame on a shot from about eight yards out with just 90 seconds remaining, cutting the lead the Fords would take into the break to just two, at 5-3.
Max Hjelm opened second-half scoring with his second of the game but that would be the Fords' final tally in the contest as Muhlenberg limited the Haverford offensive attack to just five more shots over the remainder of the game.
The Mules, meanwhile, racked up 19 of their 39 total shots in the second half requiring Banno to come up big, which he did, time and time again. The defensive group that guarded the goalie helped keep matters from getting any worse for Banno and Haverford.
Hjelm and Nick Schoen scored two goals apiece for the Fords while all five Muhlenberg goals were scored by different players. Mules goalkeeper Mike Horowitz finished the game with three saves.
Haverford has a long break before its next game, a conference match-up April 16 at Franklin & Marshall College.