Virginia Wesleyan vs. Mary Washington
February 22, 2003
The Game Story:
NORFOLK/VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA - Ryan Bush scored a career-high five goals and Jay Smith added four assists to help spark Virginia Wesleyan College to a 12-5 victory over Mary Washington College in the 2003 men?s lacrosse season opener at Foster Field.

VWC (1-0), which defeated Mary Washington for the sixth time in the past seven years, never trailed in the contest, surprising a highly-touted Mary Washington group that returned many of its leading players from last year?s team that set a school-record 11 victories. That group of Eagle returnees included the top three scorers, who had their hands full with an alert VWC defense. Mary Washington attempted 40 shots in the contest, but had numerous shots deflected or blocked, and 15 cut shot by VWC junior goalie Dustin Betthauser (Alexandria, VA/Edison).

"We identified a defense we thought would be effective against them and the guys executed it well," said VWC first-year head coach J.P. Stewart. "We had many good efforts, but our goalie, Dustin Betthauser, played exceptionally." Virginia Wesleyan, which recorded 29 shots, took the early lead when Bush, a junior from Littleton, Colorado (Arapahoe), finished off a pass from Smith with a goal at 9:14 in the first quarter. The Marlins went on to build a 6-1 lead into the second quarter, before Mary Washington rallied to pull within a 6-4 score by halftime. It was as close as the Eagles would get the rest of the way however, as Bush added two goals in the first five minutes of the third quarter to help VWC regain total control. Smith, a senior from Babylon, New York (Stony Brook), scored a goal at 6:49 as the Marlins began to pull away, helped by a hawking defense that kept Mary Washington passing the ball, and losing time, the on the perimeter.

The only negative to the afternoon for the Marlins was the loss of first-year starter Mike Canino (Littleton, CO/Arapahoe). He sustained a broken leg early in the game.

"That was tough for us," said Stewart, " but I was pleased with the way the guys responded and stepped up to the challenge. Mike is a good player and we?ll miss his contributions to our season."

In addition to Bush?s five goals, senior Tony Palazzo (West Islip, NY/West Islip) and Smith scored two each for the Marlins. Senior Jason Story (Alexandria, VA/Bishop Ireton) and junior Conner MacBeth (Virginia Beach, VA/Cape Henry), and first-year Marlin Dan Hofmeister (Williamsburg, VA/Hampton Roads) tallied one each.

Virginia Wesleyan plays again on Saturday, March 1, hosting Greensboro College at 1:00 p.m.