The men’s lacrosse team needed just one more Patriot League win to secure a bid in the league’s six-team championship tournament heading into last Saturday’s home game. After one half of play against the Holy Cross Crusaders, the team’s three-year streak of post-season appearances seemed likely to increase to four. However, six Crusader goals in the second half made for a nerve-racking end to Colgate Springcoming’s featured contest. Powered by impressive offensive performances from senior Brendon McCann and junior Ryan Walsh, the Raiders held off the late rally, and claimed a yet to be determined seed in the 2014 Patriot League Tournament.
McCann scored the first of a handful of theatrical tallies produced by players from both squads in the first minute of play. He was able to sprint past his defender from behind the net and fire a sneaky, one-handed bounce shot while running away from the Holy Cross net minder. The score remained fixed at 1-0 until Colgate was awarded a man-up opportunity with just over six minutes to play in the first quarter. Sophomore
midfielder Eric Foote cashed in on the opportunity when he buried a low and elusive shot from 16 yards.
“Footy is a great shooter and can sometimes be a loose cannon with the ball in his stick,” fellow midfielder junior Matt Clarkson said. “Luckily, he was able to find the back of the net despite the distance.”
Holy Cross took back momentum to close out the first quarter, scoring three of the period’s final four goals. However, Colgate responded with a dominant second quarter, adding five goals in four minutes and holding the Crusaders scoreless.
“We really played our brand of lacrosse in the second quarter,” senior Kevin Boyle said. “We spent a lot of the game trying to play a different style – forgetting to do the little things in our system correctly. But when we played smart, things went well for us.”
Offensive dynamo Ryan Walsh broke out of an unheralded scoring slump in the game and led the Raiders with four goals, including three in the second quarter. The most impressive play came late in the period, when the 6’4″ lefty drove up the left wing, jumped dramatically to sell a shot fake, then slid into the middle of the field to bury what was undoubtedly one of Colgate’s prettiest goals this season.
Despite an 8-3 deficit, Holy Cross came out of halftime with a newfound ability to control the pace of play. The Crusaders slipped one shot by first-year keeper Brandon Burke and tallied another goal nearly ten minutes later to pull within three goals. Senior captain Bobby Lawrence answered the call, however, running the length of the field before beating his man and darting in on the Holy Cross goal to score his first of the season.
“As a defenseman, I’m not really counted on to score, but I pride myself on my ability to create offensively when the time is right,” the Florida Launch draft pick said.
Foote added another goal in the final minutes of the period to put the Raiders up 10-5, but Holy Cross took control of the game for much of the fourth quarter to shrink the deficit. The Crusaders scored four straight goals, including one on the man advantage, to turn what had once seemed like a blowout contest into an evenly matched battle. With Colgate winning by one with two minutes to play, senior Brendon
McCann broke through Holy Cross’s pressure defense and lobbed the ball into an empty net to secure a hat trick and seal the game
“A lot of times we’re told to avoid shooting with little time left, even when the net is empty,” senior attackman McCann said. McCann recorded his ninth career three-goal effort in the victory. “I knew that Alex [Kinnealey] was facing off really well, so I figured I’d go for it.” Kinnealey added to an already impressive season resume, winning 17 of 22 draws and helping Colgate win the time-of-possession battle handily.
With a berth in the Patriot League Tournament already wrapped up, the Raiders look to secure a more favorable seed when they face Army at home on Friday evening. The United States Military Academy currently ranks second in the conference with a 6-1 league record. With impressive size and an elite scorer in attackman John Glesner, the Raiders defense will have both a formidable challenge and an exciting opportunity to carry momentum into the
Contact Mont Pooley at [email protected]