SALT LAKE CITY – Josh Stout scored seven goals to lead the Utah lacrosse team to its first win in its history, 13-9 over Mercer on Saturday afternoon.
Although Mercer scored the first goal of the game, the Utes scored the next five to take a 5-1 lead after the first period. The Utes led 9-6 at halftime and Mercer rallied back in the third to make it a one-goal game, 9-8, but the Utes ended the third quarter strong with a goal and also scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter to pull back ahead by four goals in the final minutes.
"I thought our guys did an awesome job today playing Utah lacrosse," Utah head coach Brian Holman said. "Tough on ground balls, we stuck together. It's the first and hopefully we'll get a few more. We talked last week being a little bit of an anomaly and I thought this was more Utah lacrosse. I thought our guys were more comfortable. We talked about swarming them and being diligent on ground balls, and the things that we can do well, I thought we did a good job. I want to thank Coach Hannan at Mercer for bringing his players out here.
"I told our team last week, there's a reason that Josh scored three goals against Vermont. It's because every single day he comes to practice, he works harder than anyone on the team. He typifies everything we want in this program – it's an every day effort. It's toughness, it's grit, it's determination, and you can't tell Josh no."
Stout also had an assist for eight points on the day while Aaron Fjeldsted added three goals for the Utes. James Sexton had a goal with four assists for five points, Brandon Wilson had a goal and an assist and Jake Stout also had a goal. Seth Neeleman led Utah with seven ground ball while Samuel Cambere had six. Cambere also caused five turnovers. Neeleman was 5-of-9 on face offs while Donny Stock was 7-of-16. Liam Donnelly made nine saves in goal.
After Mercer took a 1-0 lead, Josh Stout scored Utah's first two goals of the game and brother Jake added a goal to put Utah up 3-1. Sexton also scored in the first period and Stout added his fourth goal of the game with 33 seconds left to give Utah a 5-1 advantage after the first 10 minutes.
The teams combined for nine goals in the second period. The Bears had the first three to cut the lead to 5-4 but Stout and Fjeldsted scored back-to-back goals to give Utah some cushion for a 7-4 lead. Each team added two goals in the final five minutes of the period – Utah's coming from Fjeldsted and Wilson and assisted by Sexton – to give the Utes a 9-6 advantage at halftime.
Mercer came out strong in the third period with two quick goals to cut Utah's lead to 9-8 before Utah would close out the game scoring four of the final five goals in the contest for its 13-9 win.
After a significant snowstorm on Wednesday, the Utah facilities crew shoveled the field in time for Saturday's game.
"We are so grateful for our facilities people," Holman said. "They came out here and manually swept this field for us. They typify what we want to be – hard work, get the job done, no questions asked."