The 13 Best ‘Gate Sports Memories of 2009

All in all, it has been a pretty successful year for Colgate sports. The Raiders have won three Patriot League Championships and will most likely win at least one more this spring. As Athletic Department workers, Maroon-News sportswriters and the two biggest Colgate sports fans around, we’ve compiled a personal list of our favorite Colgate sports memories that we will take from this school year. You may notice some interesting omissions, such as the Women’s Swimming and Diving Patriot League championship, but quite frankly, trying like hell to follow that event on an annoying Live Stats feature is not a pleasant memory. At all.

So without further ado, the Top 13:

August 30, 2008: Volleyball 3, West Virginia 2. Paul: Colgate was losing the fourth game 20-12 before going on a ferocious 13-3 run to win the game. The Raiders eventually won the fifth game in one of the greatest Colgate comebacks of the year. This one was one of my favorites because I always like it when Colgate beats a team from a BCS conference.

September 7, 2008: Football 23, Coastal Carolina 19. Bill: When the announcer says you’ve lost the game, usually he’s right. Not today. Colgate stormed back from a 19-3 deficit to win the game in the most unorthodox of fashions. In the closing seconds, Colgate had a chance to win the game with a 33-yard field goal, but disaster struck. Junior holder Ryan Meyers botched the hold and the ball was loose, and the play-by-play announcer declared the game over. However, we then heard that Meyers got the ball back and threw a pass to junior tight end Adrien Schriefer, who ran the rest of the way for the touchdown. Colgate wins! I saw the play on video later. The pressure on Myers was incredible, and he was flattened like a pancake after the throw, but he got it away. Furthermore, the win gave Head Coach Dick Biddle his 96th win at Colgate, the most all time here.

November 14 and 16, 2008: Men’s Soccer Wins the Patriot League Tournament at Van Doren Field. Paul: It started with senior forward Matt Leach scoring a goal in the Semifinals and getting flattened by his Phi Tau brothers on the sideline after he went over to celebrate with them, only to see 30 kids break through a raised fence and fall on him. Somehow, no one was seriously injured. Colgate beat Lafayette, 2-0, on a 60-degree day, and then defeated Holy Cross 2-1 two days later, in 35-degree weather with hail and snow raining down. What an odd weekend.

November 22, 2008: Football Wins the Patriot League Championship, 28-27 Over Holy Cross. Paul: The Patriot League doesn’t have a true Championship Game per se, but Holy Cross and Colgate were the only teams left undefeated when the Crusaders rolled into town in late November, setting up a de facto title contest. In front of a raucous crowd, Colgate came back for the seventh time that season, overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit to win 28-27. The Hoo Doo magic worked on this day, and fans stormed the field as the snow fell, making one hell of a memory.

December 7, 2008: UPenn 49, Women’s Basketball 46 (OT) Bill: You are probably wondering why a heartbreaking overtime loss appears here. There is one reason and one reason only: Penn Head Coach Patrick Knapp. I use the term insane a lot, and seldom mean it literally, but this individual is insane in the clinical sense of the term. Not only did he periodically slam his fists against his chair, but for the entire second half he was on his hands and knees barking instructions at his team like a dog. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed him in action in this thriller. I’m sure he’s always fiery, but I’m also sure I saw him at his best in this overtime contest.

January 31, 2009: Women’s Hockey 3, No. 3 St. Lawrence 1. Paul: It seemed like goalie Kim Sass had 87 saves in the third period alone, but after checking the stats it was a mere 19. Seeing Colgate beat the third-ranked team in the nation was pretty sweet, and it was a solid win for the program.

February 13, 2009: Women’s Hockey 2, Dartmouth 1. Bill: This is my favorite team here at Colgate, and it’s because of wins like these. The number eight team in the nation came into our barn, and they had over twice as many shots as us. We got great goaltending from first-year Kim Sass, and we just kept fighting. Down 1-0 going into the third, we weren’t fazed. Junior Marissa Dombovy scored unassisted to knot things up about half way through the period. Then, with about half a minute to go Dartmouth turned it over in its own end. Senior Sam Hunt got the puck dished it back to Dombovy. She then shot a puck that caromed off the defender and into the net for the win! But it wasn’t luck that created the turnover. Just goes to show you that when you hustle you never know what might happen.

February 20, 2009: Men’s Hockey 2, RPI 1 (OT) Paul: After RPI forward Garrett Vassel laid an utterly devastating hit on Colgate junior forward Jason Williams along the boards with seven seconds left in the second period, the fans simply went ballistic. Williams went down, but he was fine and was kept on the ice for precautionary reasons. But no one told the fans. Starr Rink became a zoo for a period plus an overtime period as RPI was jeered and cursed for 45 straight minutes. Meanwhile, drunk and passionate fans made up random soccer-esque cheers that were sung throughout the third period. It was raucous, and Colgate ended up with the win. Honestly, I had more fun at that game than any other this year.

March 4, 2009: Men’s Basketball 64, Navy 59 (OT). Bill: It’s Wednesday night. I’m doing my homework and suddenly I remember Colgate is playing Navy in the Patriot League Tournament. I figure that there is not much time left at this point, and I also figure we are probably down big, as we lost to Navy by double digits both times during the regular season. But I get Live Stats up on my computer and its close. Both teams have chances to win the game in regulation, but neither team can put the game away and we head for overtime. The play-by-play man tends to go off on tangents while action going, making us wait longer to find out the results of crucial plays. My roommates and I are pacing listening to the game. We pull it out and win by five! This is my second-best moment listening to ‘Gate sports on the radio, after only the Coastal Carolina football game.

March 24, 2009: Men’s Lax 9, Ohio State 4. Bill: I didn’t get a T-shirt, but this game was still a blast. It might not be Ohio State football, but it is still cool to see a big name team like the Buckeyes take the field to battle Colgate. The game was tied at three going into the third quarter and that’s when Colgate’s offense came alive, outscoring Ohio State 6-1 in the closing frame to secure the win. Plus we got treated to same great and incredibly loud fireworks at halftime.

March 29, 2009: Men’s Lax 10, Army 9 (2 OT). Bill: Frank Reich-esque comeback here. Like the legendary Bills quarterback who led Buffalo to victory after trailing 35-3 to the Houston Oilers in the 1992 playoffs, this men’s lacrosse team never said die. Sophomores Rob Bosco and Ben McCabe both scored in the final 42 seconds to turn a 9-7 deficit into a 9-9 tie. Army gets the best chance to score in the first overtime, but rings one off the pipe. In double overtime junior attack Zack Craumer scored with just over a minute left in the period. But Bill missed the game-winning goal because he was typing in his Inside Lacrosse blog.

April 24 and 26, 2009: Women’s Lax Wins Patriot League Tournament. Paul: My crystal ball says that this will happen on Tyler’s Field this weekend, and it will close out a great sports year on Hamilton’s fields.