On Saturday, February 24, the Colgate men’s lacrosse team had its first Patriot League game of the season against Bucknell at the Andy Kerr Stadium. The Raiders’ season was off to a strong start with victories over Marist, Binghamton and Cornell, a team that Colgate has not been able to beat since 1997. Colgate dominated the Cornell Big Red on the ground, with five players posting career high numbers in ground balls. This historic win made the Raiders 3-0 for the year, a feat only accomplished six other times in program history.
Before Saturday’s Patriot League matchup, the team led the nation in scoring offense with 17.7 goals per game, and 10.3 assists per game. Its game against Bucknell was hard-fought and high-scoring, but the men fell short by just three goals nearing the fourth quarter, ending in a 10-13 loss.
The Raider offense appeared to be on track for another dominant performance when a quick goal from senior attackman Chase Wittich and two more to follow from first-year Mike Hawkins made it 3-0 only six minutes into regulation. In response, the Bucknell defense settled in and held Colgate scoreless for the remainder of the period. The visiting team’s offense took this opportunity to knot it up at 3-3 after one quarter of play.
The Raiders came back out for the second quarter ready to fight back, when first-year attacker James Caddigan found the net twice to record his first two goals of the season, with assists from sophomore attacker Nicky Petkevich and Hawkins. Caddigan stepped in for senior attacker Anthony Abbadessa, who tore his ACL early in the game against Cornell last week. This was Caddigan’s first time starting in a collegiate game, and he dominated the quarter in goals for the Raiders. Despite the goals, the Bison struck back with a 6-5 lead heading into the second half.
Although the second half was more fast-paced, Colgate struggled to find the back of the net in the third quarter, adding only two to the scoreboard in the 15-minute period. One goal came from Caddigan, who was able to tally a hat trick, assisted by junior attacker Sam Cleveland, and the other came from Hawkins assisted by junior midfielder Matt Donovan.
Entering the fourth quarter trailing Bucknell 7-8, the goal post saved the Bison from a Raider comeback. Junior midfield Duncan Hoskinson and Wittich both found the post while attempting to slow the Bison down and even the score. In the final quarter Colgate was able to put up three goals of their own but conceded five to the Bucknell offense.
The Raiders forced 14 turnovers, with two from first-year midfielder Nick Salameda. Ground balls were led by Blumenberg with five, followed by senior faceoff man Colin Orr with four, and three each from Baddley and Wittich. Though the Raiders had six extra-man opportunities throughout the game, they were not able to capitalize on them, leading to their 10-13 loss against the Bison.
“I definitely thought that it was a hard fought game and even though we didn’t end up winning I thought we did a good job of not giving up. Every time they went up by a couple we would battle back which is what we need to keep up going forward. Next week with Lehigh I think we just need to play more of a complete game like we did in the first three to get our first Patriot League win,” Caddigan said.
The men will move into this week and try to bounce back and get their first Patriot League win in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, who improved to 3-1 with a win over Holy Cross last weekend.
Contact Casey Malone at [email protected]