Colgate Outlaxes the Leopards; Bucknell is Next

Dan Belke

The men’s Lacrosse team secured its place in the Patriot League Tournament with an impressive 12-5 away win over the Leopards of Lafayette last Saturday afternoon. Colgate is now 8-4 on the season. Lafayette dropped to 1-11, a dismal record reminiscent of binary code. ‘Gate is now guaranteed either a two or three seed in the tournament, with their seeding depending on the outcome of this weekend’s contest against nationally-ranked Bucknell Bison. The victory also powered the Raiders upwards in the national rankings: in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, the LaxNews Rankings, and the LaxPower Forum Poll, Colgate currently ranks in the top 20.

Both Colgate and Lafayette got off to a slow start Saturday with neither team registering a goal for the first ten minutes of the opening quarter. When the deadlock was finally broken, it was Lafayette’s Steve Serling that dispatched a shot past first-year goalie Tim Harrington. The Raiders were quick to respond to the early deficit, however, as senior Chris Eck burying his first goal of the season to restore parity and end the first session tied at one. Coming out of the first quarter break, the Leopards, perennial Patriot League pushovers, showed some vitality by scoring two straight tallies against the usually stingy Raider defense. In a turnaround not seen since the Mighty Ducks defeated Iceland in the second installment of the popular Disney franchise, the Lafayette lead drove Head Coach Jim Nagle’s side into a vengeful scoring frenzy. The Raiders went on to score seven unanswered goals, including five in the second quarter. Senior Brendan Hurley responded with two straight tallies within two minutes to tie the game at three. Then the youthful offensive tandem of sophomores Kevin “El Ni?o” Colleluori and Brandon “Rolls Royce Phantom” Corp blasted home a combined three goals in the final minutes of the second quarter to contribute to Colgate’s 6-3 halftime lead.

The second half was a tale of the brawny Raider defense against the frail Lafayette offense. In 30 minutes of second half action, the Colgate defense held the Leopards to a mere two goals. On the other side of the ball, the ‘Gate offense struck early and often when play resumed, winning the face-off and scoring 14 seconds into the half. The once audible cheers from the Lafayette stands were soon silenced, as the home fans realized their pitiable brand of laxing was no match for the synchronized offensive patterns of Colgate. ‘Gate rifled in three more goals while allowing only one in the third quarter, building a 10-4 advantage entering the fourth. Eventually, Colgate won 12-5 with an air of smoothness seldom seen since the legendary James Kelly exited the Chenango Valley.

Senior Brendan Hurley finished with a game high three goals, while senior Jeff Hiller, Corp, and Colleluori each had two scores. Eck turned in a noteworthy performance for the Raiders, winning 15-of-17 face-offs and collecting 11 groundballs. Also, for his stellar performances over the past two games, junior Matt Lalli was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week. Lalli scored five goals and notched four assists in two consecutive wins for the Raiders. In addition, senior defenseman Colin “Big Whiskey” Hulme and Corp received Patriot League Honorable Mention for their work over the past week.

The team returns to Tyler’s Field on Saturday at 3p.m. to battle Bucknell for second place in the Patriot League. On the importance of the upcoming Bucknell game, Lalli sounded upbeat.

“This weekend’s game is huge for us,” Lalli said. “Since the first round of the Patriot League Tournament will be a rematch of this game, we have the opportunity to gage the laxing abilities of our opponent first hand, and prepare for next week’s decisive match-up.”