Dan Belke

The men’s lacrosse team dispelled any doubt over their potential Saturday afternoon, as they dispatched a nationally top-10 ranked Army squad before a raucous home crowd, 9-7. A string of recent close defeats at the hands of top ranked competition did little to discourage the Raiders, as they rose to the challenge to upset the Black Knights in a thrilling comeback. The win halted a three-game slide and propelled the team back into the top 20 national rankings. The game was a typical highly contested Patriot League battle from the outset, with neither team able to open up more than a two-goal lead throughout the match. Building on their experience from past games, the Raider defense did not allow Army to jump out to an early advantage, setting the stage for an electrifying afternoon.

Junior Matt “la Cara de Luna” Lalli opened up his scoring account 2:30 into the opening quarter on a man-up opportunity with a nifty shot past one of the top goalkeepers in the country, Adam Fullerton. Army was able to equalize seven minutes later by unleashing a lethal blast past first-year Colgate goaltender Timmy Harrington. The first quarter ended with only two goals scored, one for each side. The second quarter brought an increase in offensive firepower as both teams exchanged goals. The Raiders were again able to capitalize on a man-up opportunity, with sophomore midfielder Nick “The Extinguisher” Monastero cracking an outside blast. Overall, Colgate got the better of the scoring boom, but only carried a tenuous 4-3 lead into halftime.

The second half brought lead changes and uncertainty for the Raiders, but it was a familiar face. Sophomore Brandon “Rolls Royce” Corp secured Colgate’s vengeance against Army. Corp would not be denied, ripping a shot in the third quarter, to extend the Raider lead to two goals. The Colgate advantage, however, seemed to jumpstart the Army offense into action, as they responded with three unanswered third quarter goals. This built a 6-5 Army lead, setting the stage for a fourth quarter those in attendance will not soon forget. Once again Corp was on hand to restore parity, shifting the goalie by faking a shot high, and delivering a crafty score into the lower corner of the goal. Army responded in turn, regaining a one goal lead with at 9:31 left to go in the fourth quarter.

This response ignited the Colgate squad, and proved to be the last glimmer of hope for the Black Knights. Lalli started a three-goal Colgate rally by using his superior strength and quickness to dodge past a flat-footed Army defenseman, tying the game at seven. After a noteworthy save by Harrington, the Raiders called a timeout with 5:53 left to play. The timeout proved a wise decision, as “Rolls Royce” Corp flew out of the break and delivered one of the goals of the season. Coming from the right side he beat his mark, wrapped around the left side of the net from behind, and shook the cage with a go-ahead strike that sent the Raider fans into nirvana. The team then put their 8-7 advantage to good use, with the stalwart ‘Gate defense holding the Army offense for three minutes before regaining possession. Army then was forced to send out their goalie as Colgate stalled with little time on the clock, resulting in an open net goal for sophomore Will Planer.

The four-goal game by Corp earned him Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week Honors, while Harrington’s performance in net garnered him Goalkeeper of the Week Honors.

“Lately we’ve struggled to play well on both offense and defense but for the Army game we were finally able to play together as a team.” Corp said explaining the recent resurgence. “There is still a lot of room for improvement. We have plenty of games left and we can’t take any for granted. I’m looking forward to what our season holds in the future.”

The victory places Colgate back in the hunt for a coveted league tournament position. The Raiders return to action April 7th when the try to continue their Patriot League success against Lehigh.