Men’s Lax Encounters Trouble in Thin Air

Dan Belke

So the sun rose on another hopeful season for men’s lacrosse. Following one of the most promising and successful years in school history, the program is poised to cement its place among the nation’s best. This year, the team attained its highest preseason ranking in its storied history, achieving both a national ranking of 16 and a spot as the preseason Patriot League runner-up. The Raiders return the nucleus of their squad on both sides of the ball, which includes last year’s Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year junior Brandon “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” Corp, perennial hitman senior Matt “Gaston” Lalli, midfield general senior E.J. “Lil Romeo” Atamian and face-off maestro senior Chris “Spidermonkey” Eck. The team is going to need a Herculean focus and effort this season as Head Coach Jim Nagle has put together the most daunting schedule a Colgate team has ever faced. National powerhouses, such as Duke, Syracuse and Denver litter the team’s schedule, and with the always fierce Patriot League battles, the Raiders are in for the lacrosse equivalent of The Matrix Trilogy: long, taxing, but eventually rewarding.

Colgate kicked off its season last Saturday afternoon in the thin 50-degree air of the Colorado Rockies, matching wits against the Pioneers of Denver, who were ranked an impressive 20th in the national polls. Unfortunately, the crowd of over 1,000 fans saw the Raiders succumb to the potent Pioneer attack, 15-5 and endure their first loss of the young season. Colgate got on the scoreboard first when Corp mesmerized the Denver defense less than a minute into the game. However, the advantage was short-lived and it would be the last one Colgate possessed in the high altitude. The Pioneers rattled off seven unanswered goals following Corps’, punishing the Raiders for a lack of defensive intensity. Denver assaulted the Raider defense throughout the contest by registering 48 shots and only allowing 27 opportunities for Colgate. In the contest, the Pioneers went on one streak of seven goals and two streaks of three goals, burying the futile ‘Gate surges. These rallies flustered the Raiders, as they mustered limited offense in spurts, while the Denver attack answered swiftly each time.

Despite the loss, there were some encouraging performances by the squad. Eck was solid from the face-off circle, winning 50% of his opportunities. Sophomore goalie Timmy “Goldberg” Harrington registered a career-high 24 saves and Corp proved that he is deserving of his preseason All-American accolades by scoring or assisting on all five Raider goals. Colgate and Coach Nagle surely hopes to right the ship in their next bout against Ohio State on Sunday.