Defense Leads the Way in 10-4 Win Over Navy

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Wittich was in and around the net all day against Navy, ultimately tallying four goals in the contest.

Emma Gladstone

This past Saturday, at Crown Field, the Colgate men’s lacrosse team claimed a major win over Navy, improving their Patriot League record to 2-4. To open the first of the three-game conference stretch, the men took the field by storm right off the bat.

Coming in hot, the Raiders scored five goals in just the first quarter. Junior attack Chase Wittich led the team with the first of his four goals of the game, followed by goals from junior attack Anthony Abbadessa, first-year midfielder Griffin Brown, senior midfielder Jack Stebbins and another from Abbadessa. Holding Navy for the entirety of the first quarter, the washout was Colgate’s first shutout of the season. The 18½-minute scoreless streak was followed by a second defensive shutout by Colgate, holding Navy for a combined 21-minute stretch over the third and fourth quarters.

When the second quarter rolled around, Navy responded with two goals, making the score 5-2 with 9:09 left in the half. The Midshipmen started the third quarter with another goal, and were able to hold the Raiders scoreless for over 20 minutes. However, during this 20-minute stretch the Midshipmen were unable to get anything through Colgate’s goalkeeper, senior Brandon Burke.

With 3:18 remaining in the half, sophomore attack Sam Cleveland broke the Raider’s dry spell with a goal, which was quickly followed by another from Brown. Wittich knocked in two more in the fourth quarter, giving the Raiders a significant lead over Navy. The Raiders ended the game with a 10-4 victory, improving their record to 4-7 overall, and 4-2 in the Patriot league.

“We just came out ready to play. We wanted to play fast and get after them, and that’s what we did. It was a fantastic job by our defense, and our seniors really stepped up,” Wittich said.

This game served to highlight a typical sports tenet ­— if you win the turnover battle, you’ll win the game. The Raiders were able to force 11 turnovers. Sophomore midfielder Will Blumenberg caused a career-high of three turnovers, while senior midfielder Strecker Backe and Abbadessa followed with two each. Burke showed his goal-tending skills once again, posted 12 saves and kept Navy almost completely out of the goal. The Midshipmen met their match against Colgate’s defense, as the Raiders put on a spectacular show. Head coach Mike Murphy seemed extremely pleased with the team’s performance.

“I said to our team early in the week that we would have (to win) on the backs of our seniors. It started with Brandon — he kept us in that game early. They had a couple of inside takes that either hit the pipe or hit him. Strecker Backe was really good underneath. Tyler Schmarak came in for Jackson Patterson [currently out for post-appendix surgery] and did a nice job,” Murphy said.

The victory bumped Colgate up one place in the Patriot League standings to seventh place. Next week the Raiders will play their final conference games on Saturday at Holy Cross, and then against Lafayette in the

Friday night home finale on April 21.