COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Tyler Neal wasted no time putting himself atop the Ursinus College men's lacrosse record book, and the Bears wasted even less time knocking the rust off a 392-day hiatus.
Neal equaled the program record with 10 points in his debut and was one of three Bears to record a hat trick in an 18-6 demolition of visiting Washington College under the Patterson Field lights. Ursinus extended its regular-season winning streak to eight games in its long-awaited return to the field after a 7-0 pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
Hakan Atillasoy and Tommy Reinhart each registered a hat trick to match Neal in the goal department, but the sophomore transfer was in an especially giving mood on Wednesday night. He tallied the Bears' first goal of the spring three minutes in, then fed Jerry Bardol for the go-ahead marker. Rei Lopez scored five seconds later off a faceoff win, and Ursinus was off to the races.
The 13th-ranked Bears embarked on the first of two runs of eight-plus unanswered goals, holding the Shoremen (2-2, 1-1) off the scoreboard for over 25 minutes while amassing a huge lead. Goals by Joe Mercurio and Atillasoy put the hosts up 5-1 after one, and Neal set up consecutive markers by Reinhart and Atillasoy before Aaron Grill capped the spurt with an unassisted shot into the back of the net to make it 8-1 at the 6:52 mark of the second quarter.
Washington College, already playing its fourth game of the season, found its footing for an extended stretch spanning the halftime break, twice pulling within four goals in the third quarter. But after getting within 9-5 about four minutes into the second half, the Bears put the game to bed.
Atillasoy took matters into his own hands, wrapping a pair of assists around a goal of his own before Neal set up two quick-fire goals by Tyler Falco and Mercurio that had the home side up 14-5 after three.
Neal continued to dominate in the late stages, accounting for three of the next four goals to polish off a 9-0 spurt over a span of more than 24 minutes.
Neal's seven assists tied Anthony Tori '04 for the second-most in a single game, two off Tori's school record.
Atillasoy finished with three goals and two assists, moving within four goals of 100 for his career. Mercurio had two goals and an assist, and Grill produced two assists and a goal.
Jake Ojert (2) and Bardol each notched the first goals of their Ursinus career.
Lopez won 13 of his 25 faceoffs and picked up eight ground balls.
With rookies Ryan Fitzgerald and Ben Schroeder anchoring an inexperienced defense, the Bears managed to put together almost 50 minutes of shutout lacrosse over two long separate spans. Joshua Toth tallied two caused turnovers, and Chris Porzelt was steady between the pipes with 11 saves. Ursinus' man-down unit held the Shoremen without a goal in seven extra-man opportunities.
Ursinus racked up a 49-39 advantage in shots and a 43-26 margin in ground balls.
The Bears have little time to rest before heading to the Battlefield on Saturday for a huge clash with No. 10 Gettysburg.