Raiders Improve to 7-2, Ranked Second In PL

While most of the Colgate student body spent last week getting away, the men’s lacrosse team spent it getting ahead. The Raiders snuck by in-state opponent Binghamton 10-9, hung tight with No. 2 Cornell before losing 15-10 and nabbed an important 10-7 Patriot League win against the Naval Academy. Binghamton, a middling team thus far, provided a bigger challenge than many foresaw. Staunch defensive play in the waning minutes of the contest, as well as clutch offensive contributions from some new scorers, secured the win for Colgate.

“It feels pretty good to get that monkey off my back,” senior midfielder Justin Kirchner said, who scored goals in the third and fourth quarters and ended a drought that stretched back to March of 2012. Cameron Williams, a sophomore midfielder from Columbus, Ohio, scored the first of his career just before Kirchner tallied in the fourth quarter, adding a dimension of secondary scoring that Colgate’s offense has desperately needed this season.

This year’s matchup against Cornell was a marked improvement from last year’s 19-3 debacle in Ithaca. The Raiders trailed the Big Red 11-9 midway through the fourth quarter, but Cornell’s opportunistic transition play broke open the tight contest late in the game.

“I think we had them where we wanted them at the end,” senior Brendan McCann said, who netted three goals on the day. “Unfortunately, we made a few small mistakes in the middle of the field at a crucial time. You can’t afford to have those missteps against a team as explosive and dynamic as Cornell.”

While the loss broke a four-game winning streak, the team displayed an impressive resolve. McCann’s hat trick helped spur a late-game comeback that saw the Raiders score five of six goals to pull within two. “You like to see that late-game composure,” senior Kevin Boyle said, “but we needed to hold on to it for a half a

quarter longer.”

The Raiders got back to their winning ways in Annapolis, MD this past Saturday, securing a well-rounded team win against a physical Navy team. Hat tricks from Brendon McCann and sophomore midfielder Eric Foote paced the Raiders, who looked more comfortable with the ball in their sticks than at almost any other point this season. Equally as impressive was the play of senior captain Kevin Boyle. The all-purpose long-stick midfielder picked up six groundballs, caused one turnover, and helped to tilt the face-off battle in favor of Colgate.

The 2-1 week helped push the Raiders into the national polls; the squad is now ranked No. 19 in the USILA Coaches Poll and No. 17 in the Warrior Media Poll. Within the Patriot League, the Raiders now sit tied with Army for second place.

“We don’t pay much attention to where our name is in the rankings, to be honest,” captain Bobby Lawrence said. “Right now we’re trying to focus on what’s immediately in front of us. There’s really not much room to think about anything else.”

What is immediately in front of the Raiders is perhaps their toughest test of the season: the number-one ranked Loyola Greyhounds. Arguably the nation’s best at scoring goals, the Greyhounds boast dynamic scorers at every position to go along with elite defenseman.

“We’re aware of the task at hand,” junior Ryan Walsh said. “They’re coming into our house ranked first nationally. We think this is an opportunity to jump out and surprise them. We just have to play our game and not get intimidated.”

Contact Mont Pooley at [email protected].