|CINCINNATI, Ohio - It wasn't the season opener the Wittenberg Tigers had envisioned, but hopefully it's something to build on for a season that is beginning with much optimism. In a game played at Mariemont High School in Cincinnati on a cold, snowy, blustery evening, the Tigers dropped an 11-7 decision to NCAA Division I Bellarmine.|
The Tigers made just enough mistakes - primarily untimely turnovers - to dig themselves a hole they couldn't climb out of, continuing the troubling trend of a year ago when they finished 4-12 overall. The two teams were tied at two after the first period, but Bellarmine outscored the Wittenberg 4-2 and 3-1 in the second and third quarters to establish a four-goal lead it would never relinquish.
Wittenberg's offense was spread around, as six different players, none with more than one season of collegiate experience, accounted for the seven goals. Sophomore Jay Shimko led with the first two Tiger games, followed by sophomore Sammy Hong, freshman Bryan Arnold, freshman James Mather, freshman Patrick Adrian and freshman Mike Coursault.
In goal, junior Kevin Adams made his first start and was credited with 14 saves. He faced a total of 25 shots from Bellarmine, compared to 24 shots by Wittenberg. Also of note was the play of junior Mike Morrell, who won 12-of-21 faceoffs.
Next up for Wittenberg is a trip to Pennsylvania on Saturday for a game against NAIA scholarship program St. Vincent. The two teams played last year in Springfield. That game, like so many others, tipped in the Tigers' opponents' favor by the narrowest of margins.