The Colgate men’s lacrosse team must have decided that it needed some more interesting games this week after outscoring its previous two opponents by an average of seven goals. The Raiders won both of their games this week by a single goal, including an overtime victory against Lehigh and a come-from-behind win at Binghamton. The two wins improved Colgate’s record to 9-2 overall (3-1 in the Patriot League) and vaulted it back into the top-20 in the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Coaches’ Poll.
Colgate started its game against Lehigh very well, netting the first two goals of the match and leading by as many as five goals in the second quarter. At the end of the first period, the Raiders led 4-2, on goals by junior Brendan Hurley, seniors Brian Robinson and Robert Trasolini, and sophomore Matt Lalli, who tallied his goal with less than 30 seconds left in the period.
Lehigh could not muster any offense for almost all of the second period. Despite out-shooting Colgate in the period, Lehigh could only come up with one goal.
The Mountain Hawks’ last-second goal right before the end of the second period ignited their offense. The goal sparked an 8-3 run that spanned the remainder of regulation. As the siren went off to signify the end of the fourth period, the game stood tied at 10 after the Mountain Hawks concluded a 4-1 fourth quarter to complete the huge comeback.
Nevertheless, the Lehigh scoring barrage did not intimidate the Colgate offense. Only 1:30 into the sudden-death overtime, Trasolini scored for the second time in the game to seal the victory.
Lalli scored a hat-trick in the game while Robinson, Trasolini and first-year Brandon Corp all beat the Lehigh goaltender twice. The game was a Patriot League match-up of potentially huge importance, since both the Raiders and Mountain Hawks were tied for second-place in the Patriot League standings at the time.
After squeaking out the victory against Lehigh, the Raiders traveled to Binghamton on Tuesday to face the Bearcats in a non-league tune-up. The contest proved to be just as difficult as the Lehigh game, except in this game it was the Raiders who were fighting to come back.
Both teams were held scoreless for the first 13 minutes of play, until Binghamton opened up the scoring with consecutive goals in the final 1:30 of the first period and then added two more in the first three minutes of the second quarter to jump out to a four-goal advantage. Hurley and Robinson each scored to keep the game close, but the Bearcats notched another goal before heading into the half with a 5-2 edge.
Binghamton’s Jake Boyce scored his fifth goal of the game early in the second half to give the Bearcats a 6-2 lead, before the Raiders finally got their offense rolling. With six minutes left in the quarter Lalli beat Bearcat goalkeeper Kevin McKeown, and then Robinson did the same a few seconds later for his second tally of the match. The Bearcats responded at the close of the period to go up by three goals heading into the final stanza of play.
Only a minute into the period, Hurley scored for the second time to lower the deficit to two goals, and shortly after Corp notched another to tighten the game some more. Corp then assisted Trasolini for the game-tying goal with under six minutes to play. With seven seconds left in the game, Corp capped the comeback with his third goal, giving the Raiders an intense 8-7 win.
“Our last two games have been nail biters with last second plays in both contests, but the guys have revealed team character twice, proving their collective desire to win,” assistant coach Mike Borsz said. “We are proud of the way each player dealt with the mental ups and downs of a competitive Division I game. At this point in the season any given team can beat any other team and it is the small things that make the difference: which team will hustle more, which team has more patience and which team has players who will step up at the right time and make a play.”
The Raiders will return to league play tomorrow against Lafayette at Tyler’s Field. The Leopards are 2-9 on the season and 1-3 in the Patriot League, and so the Raiders will be looking to maintain their perfect home record. A win would put Colgate’s record at 4-1 and give clinch for the team a spot in the four-team Patriot League Tournament at the end of the season. Thus, the team will not be lacking motivation this weekend.
“This is a big game for us for a couple of reasons,” Borsz said. “One of which is that a win over Lafayette would guarantee a spot in the Patriot League Tournament. The other motivation for this game is to avenge the loss we suffered last year against Lafayette. Last year, we did not play well and all of us that were involved were disappointed. I do not think any pre-game speeches will be needed to get the guys ready to play this game; they all know that with a win on Saturday we could be one step closer to the Patriot League title.”