LAXIN! Men’s Team Earns Two Key Wins

Dan Belke

After two tough road losses to top-notch opponents, the men’s lacrosse team responded in a big way last week. The turnaround started on a blustery Thursday afternoon on Tyler’s Field against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks. Colgate proved too much from the outset for the lily-livered Hawks squad, winning 10-4. Junior attack Kevin “Hannibal” Colleluori was savage, pacing the offense for the Raiders with a career-high six points off four goals and two assists. Junior attack Brandon “Rolls Royce Phantom” Corp was once again magnificent by adding three goals, while senior legend midfielder Matt “Tinkerbell” Lalli danced around his markers and knocked in a goal and an assist. The game began in a one-sided frenzy, with Colgate ripping out four goals in the opening ten minutes and never looking back. ‘Gate led 7-2 at the interval, with senior Chris Eck ending the first half in style by winning a face-off at the X and rifling a shot passed the frozen St. Joe’s keeper.

Colgate then bore down defensively in the second half, not only preserving the lead but outscoring the Hawks, 3-2. Returning from a serious knee injury last year, senior midfielder Corey “Roger Clemens” Hinton is a welcome addition back to the team. Along with Eck and senior defender E.J. Atamian, he looked strong and physically dominating the middle of the field. Also, the defensive lines appeared solid in the match and took strides towards regaining their fine form of last season. The victory was Colgate’s first of the season, and set the stage for a great interstate rivalry match at Canisius on Sunday.

The Canisius game had all the makings of a great battle, with Colgate searching for a .500 record, and the Golden Griffins scrambling for their first win of the season. The game, held at the Demske Sports Complex, did not disappoint. The contest, tied 11-11 at the end of regulation. was decided by a Kevin Colleluori blast 48 seconds into overtime, handing Colgate a well-earned 12-11 win. The win balances the Raiders’ record at 2-2, and should provide a confidence boost heading into the Patriot League schedule starting this week at Holy Cross.

Colgate began the Canisius game by jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter with goals by Corp and senior attack Josh “Llama” Back. Canisius was quick to respond, however, leveling the score by the end of the quarter. ‘Gate struck again to start the second quarter with two more unanswered goals, but Canisius was full of fight. They scored three goals to Colgate’s one, evening the score at five. The Raiders continued to trade goals with the Golden Griffins, but were unable to gain more than a two-goal advantage. Canisius eventually turned the tide in the match, sneaking in three unanswered scores and gaining its first lead of the game, 9-8. ‘Gate replied swiftly with a Lalli goal, and continued to jockey for position by trading goals until Canisius held an 11-10 lead with 2:05 remaining on the clock. Colgate had two opportunities to tie the game, but was unable to equalize. Canisius regained possession with 58 seconds left. With 30 seconds to go, Hinton made his larger-than-life presence and machismo felt by making a great play to force a Griffin turnover. Canisius crumpled like a stale Barge bagel under the mounting pressure and were penalized twice in 22 seconds, handing Colgate a two-man advantage with eight ticks on the scoreboard. Sophomore midfielder Ian Murphy took junior Nick Monastero’s pass and made no mistakes, dispatching the ball in the net with vicious aplomb as the clock ran out, forcing overtime.

Though Canisius won the opening face-off, ‘Gate had the eye of the tiger and would not be denied. Head Coach Jim Nagle, realizing the gravity of the possession, called a timeout. After strategizing in the huddle, the Raiders pressured the Griffins into a turnover. Junior captain Andrew Watkins then picked up the loose ball and fed it to the omnipresent Corp. He dished the ball to Colleluori, who sent a rocket past the Griffin’s goalie, sending the Raider faithful into dreamland and compounding Canisius’ misery.

“We are happy about the win and the game was really exciting towards the end,” Corp said regarding the Canisius game. “Our offense missed a bunch of opportunities and we should have put the game away early. I have to give credit to Canisius for their hustle and relentless play. We still need to get better on both offense and defense because we have a very difficult schedule ahead for us.”

When asked about the Raiders performance so far this year Coach Nagle revealed his understandably high expectations for the team and was less than pleased, remarking that the squad is “still a summer league team.” He also attributed the change in results to a decline in the “level of competition.” However, Nagle did have praise for the attack play of Colleluori and Corp, who have both been in fine form this season.

Earlier this week, Back was announced as a candidate for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award. This honor is bestowed upon a senior each year that exemplifies classroom, character, community and competition. Back is the second Colgate player that has been nominated for a major college lacrosse award, with Corp being the first when he was named to the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List last week. The latter award is given to the best male and female college lacrosse player each season.

The Raiders look to make it three wins in a row when they travel to the majestic metropolis that is Worcester to battle Holy Cross on Saturday.