The Vermont Catamounts hosted the men’s lacrosse team this past Saturday for the Raiders’ second game of the season. Although the weather was almost unbearably cold, the Raiders were able to pull off a huge 10-8 victory.
The Raiders trailed 4-1 after the first quarter and were slacking on many of the fundamentals that they usually excel at. Lacrosse games, like hockey, are very unpredictable and can turn around almost instantaneously. Senior forward Ryan Walsh turned the game around for the Raiders after tallying his second goal of the season and the second goal for the Raiders in the second quarter. After this goal, the Raiders put three more unanswered goals in the back of the net, giving the visitors a 5-4 advantage heading into the half. When asked about the Raiders slow start, junior attackman, Tyler Rigo said, “we went down 4-1 mainly due to our stick work and turnovers which needs to improve in order for us to achieve our season goals.”
First year Anthony Abbadessa had a very stellar performance in this game against Vermont, scoring a hat-trick. He now has a total of four goals for the season. Despite the score, the Raiders ended the game behind Vermont in almost all statistics – shots on net (37-33), faceoff wins (15-6) and ground balls (29-24). So far, the Raiders have not continued their historical dominance of faceoffs this year in either game. The Raiders took better shots and capitalized on the extra man chances, scoring on five out of their nine opportunities.
According to Head Coach Mike Murphy, the Raiders owe their success in large part to their riding game (defensive plays when the opponents are trying to clear the ball). The Raiders were very effective at doing this Saturday. “I believe we scored three ride-back goals when they were in the process of trying to clear the ball, so I was very pleased with how we scrapped and created some unsettled situations,” said Murphy.
Being undefeated so far (2-0) is certainly a huge moral boost for the Raiders as they are just beginning their season. Rigo, however, believes that the Raiders are not as good as they will need to be if they are to have the success they desire this season. “It’s always great to start the season off 2-0. However, we know we need to improve in all aspects of our game in order to continue winning,” Rigo said.
The beginning of a new season can often be a rocky time for any team. The lacrosse season is very short compared to many other sports, making every game count and the room for error very slim. The team’s mentality also needs to remain positive for they cannot let a strong start lead them down a path of overconfidence.
“Our goal this year is to get better with every practice and every game. If we are able to get better with every practice, success later in the season will come naturally,” said sophomore Peter Donato when asked how the team was approaching this season.
This mentality is a great one to have at the beginning of the season, as it will ultimately lead to a higher level of lacrosse played in the later part of the season.Looking ahead on the schedule, the Raiders face off against Lafayette this Saturday at 12 p.m. on Tyler’s Field in their first Patriot League game.
“Everyone is really pumped to get after them,” said Donato when asked about the upcoming rivalry game against Lafayette.
The Raiders suffered a tough 7-8 loss to Lafayette last year, so they are looking forward to redeeming themselves this time around. As a whole, the team is looking very good this year. They have great depth as well as some veteran players who have done particularly well in the Patriot League in the past. I am certainly interested in watching how their season pans out. If you don’t mind being outside in the seemingly unbearable cold and have some free time Saturday afternoon, come out and support the men’s lacrosse team as they attempt to continue their winning streak.