Men’s Lacrosse Falls Back on Track

Dan Belke

After the men’s lacrosse team lost a series of hard-fought games, dropping their record uncharacteristically below .500, the Colgate Raiders polished off two straight opponents, placing the team back on track in the Patriot League Championship race.

The Raiders first grappled with Lehigh in a crucial Patriot League match-up. The game was held on the Fieldturf of Andy Kerr Stadium on Saturday afternoon, a fitting arena for the magnitude of the contest. Colgate came out of the gates surprisingly sluggish, finishing the first half behind Lehigh, 3-1. The lone goal was mustered by the dependable junior attacker Brandon “Rolls Royce” Corp. The second half, however, was a completely different story. The Raider defense put on one of the most impressive displays in recent memory, holding the Lehigh offense scoreless in both quarters of play. From the midfield, senior EJ “The Hulk” Atamian played like a man possessed, using his mighty long stick to frustrate the opposition and forcing a barrage of ground balls collected by his ‘Gate teammates. The Raider offense fed off the energy of the stalwart defense and turned up the intensity on the Mountain Hawks. Colgate, down 3-2 with five minutes remaining, caught fire and rallied three unanswered strikes. After tying the game by forcing a turnover in the Lehigh zone, the stage was set for pure, unadulterated drama.

With the warm sun slowly shining through the thick clouds of the Chenango Valley, Colgate lacrosse remained deadlocked at three with the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh. The scoreboard in Andy Kerr Stadium read 2:54 in the final stanza, and it was high time for a hero. Senior midfielder Matt “la Cara de Luna” Lalli sensed the anticipation of the crowd and decided to make the moment his. Lalli backed down his defender around the right side of the net, spun him around his shoulder with his superior strength and fired a frozen rope past the lead-footed Lehigh goalkeeper. With Lalli’s face sheepishly mocking the Mountain Hawks from the Jumbotron, coupled with the roar from the Colgate faithful, the Mountain Hawks’ misery was almost complete. With the clock winding down and Lehigh’s goalie pressing up the field, Corp finished off his hat trick in style by ripping the ball into an open net for a critical 5-3 win. Head Coach Jim Nagle had the following to say about the win.

“We didn’t try to play up[needing the win] to the guys, but we would have been out of the playoffs if we had not won that game. They are a very athletic team, very defensively strong team, and we didn’t play very well. But it was good to gut it out and get a win.”

Atamian further emphasized the importance of the game and improving Colgate’s Patriot League standing.

“We are very excited about the win on Saturday. We have been trying to turn things around and that was the first step. We are now concentrating on qualifying for the Patriot League tournament.”

Riding off the momentum of Saturday’s defensive battle, Colgate raised their game by beating Binghamton, 9-7 in non-conference action. Junior Kevin “the Hammer” Collelouri led all scorers with three goals and two assists. Senior Chris “the Face” Mulholland opened Colgate’s account 2:30 into the game with a heady play. Picking up a groundball at midfield, he slalomed past Binghamton defenders and unleashed a long distance drive past ‘keeper Larry Kline.

The teams were tied heading into the second quarter after a retaliatory Bearcat score, but it was all Raiders in the second period. Collelouri, senior Chris Eck and sophomore midfielder Ian Murphy all made stellar plays to create a 6-2 Colgate lead heading into intermission.

Colgate’s defense proved that it still had energy left from Saturday’s performance, holding the Bearcats to six shots in the third quarter. Sophomore goalie Timmy “Goldberg” Harrington was also on point, recording four saves in the same time period. The intensity increased in the final frame, and both teams combined for seven goals. Colgate never relinquished the lead, but Binghamton was able to bring the game within two goals with 12:31 left in the quarter. The Raiders sensed the danger and promptly increased their lead to 9-5 off one of sophomore Zach “Mystery” Craumer’s two goals. In the final two minutes, Binghamton rallied for two late consolation goals, but the stingy Raider defense was never in danger of spoiling such a commanding late lead.

The Raiders now look to fight back a pesky Lafayette Leopard squad this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Andy Kerr Stadium.