After last year’s season of unparalleled success the men’s lacrosse team is poised to repeat as Patriot League regular season champions, and possibly realize their potential with an NCAA tournament birth. The Raiders finished with an 11-4 mark, including a 5-1 record in patriot league play before suffering a heartbreaking loss to Army in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament.Though their loss in the Patriot League Tournament caused them to miss out on an NCAA tournament bid, the team seems poised to bounce back with more experience and resolve.Legendary college lacrosse player Jim Brown of Syracuse University may or may not have had this to add about the upcoming Patriot League Season, “Colgate University, once a big rival of mine, has in recent years developed a program that is going to surprise a lot of people.” Even his good friend LL Cool J within the context of his role in the film, In Too Deep had this to say, “Yea…Colgate ‘Naveristy…so that’s wassup.Paid in full!” The strength of the Raiders lies in the return of key veteran starters from last year’s record breaking season.From defense up through the forward line there is consistency and depth in virtually every position.
The Colgate attack will be spearheaded once again by junior Matt Lalli (26G, 18A). Lalli is coming off a stellar season were he was named Second Team All-Patriot League. Senior Jeff Hiller and sophomore Kevin Colleluori, who scored 5 goals in a preseason scrimmage against Princeton, should help bolster the Raider’s frontline as well.
The midfield is led by senior Brendan Hurley and All-Patriot League sophomore Brandon Corp (19G, 6A).Hurley’s consistent performance in the midfield landed him the most assists on the squad during the 2006 season, a number which he is likely to improve upon with the added squad depth and experience.Sophomore Nick Monastero (5G, 4A), junior enforcer EJ “The Hulk” Atamian, sophomores Mark Florian, and Will Planer add depth to the ‘gate midfield.Senior Chris Eck, a preseason All-American selection will once again be counted on as the top face-off midfielder.
The defense, the Raiders’ most seasoned line, returns three key starters. Senior All-American Colin Hulme returns with a team best 54 ground balls.Senior Michigan product John Dunn and junior Tyler Philpot both combine to make the Colgate defense one of the most feared in the conference, with all three at least six feet tall.The goalie situation might get interesting throughout the season, with a possible two-man race between sophomore Brian Cain, and freshman Timmy Harrrington.If the Raiders’ can find a consistent replacement in net for Andrew “Julie the Cat Gaffney” Jarolimek, the defense should be able to easily regain its top form from last season.First-years Mike Crown and Ian Murphy add depth at the defensive midfield position and both have had a promising preseason.
The Raiders lived up to pre-season expectations Sunday afternoon with a 19-4 dismantling of Hartford University.Even as the temperature dipped below freezing, Colgate was able to dominate every facet of the game from the opening whistle through the final quarter.Throughout the game the ball rarely crossed into the Raider zone, and when it did the Colgate defense was easily able to stifle the prepubescent Hartford attack. Cain impressed in his starting debut in goal, though he was called upon infrequently. On the offensive end senior Jeff Hiller opened the scoring in the first 3 minutes with an assist from junior Matt Lalli, and the scoring rarely halted throughout. Hiller and senior Brendan Hurley led all scorers with 3 goals apiece, while Lalli, sophomore Spencer Cooperman, and junior Josh Back contributed two goals each in the win.Seven other players added a goal, including an unassisted blast from Atamian, the first of his absolutely brilliant career. With senior Chris Eck out with an injury, Florian and sophomore Brian McGowan largely took over face-off responsibilities, winning a dominant 16 of 18 collectively.
The Raiders have set a dominant tone for the season; however a test waits when the team welcomes Sacred Heart to Tyler’s Field on Saturday.The match up has been a traditionally heated affair, with Colgate pulling out a 12-10 victory in last season’s battle.