Men’s Lacrosse Opens Season With Win

Mont Pooley

For the Colgate men’s lacrosse team, Saturday’s 2014 season-opener against Bryant University marked the beginning of a new era: the post-Peter Baum era. Playing without former Tewaaraton Trophy winner, the award given to the NCAA Player of the Year, the Raiders delivered an impressive defensive performance and proved they can win without the most prolific scorer in program history, besting the Bulldogs 7-4 on a chilly

afternoon at Andy Kerr Stadium.

Sophomore midfielder Eric Foote kicked off the scoring in 2014 when he received a slick pass from senior attackman Brendon McCann and placed the ball just inside the right goalpost. Midway through the second quarter, however, the Raiders found themselves trailing 2-1 after failing to convert on a number of favorable scoring chances. Foote tallied again to even the score with eight minutes to play in the first half, dodging underneath his defenseman from the near wing and burying a crafty shot before getting sandwiched by two opposing defensemen.

Foote’s second tally was the first in a five-goal run that shifted momentum squarely into the Raiders’ camp. Sophomore attack Kevin Adams, senior defenseman Kevin Boyle and junior attack Ryan Walsh added consecutive goals in 49 seconds to end the half. Walsh, a 6’4″, 245-pound offensive force, took control of the Raiders’ offense in the second half when he unleashed a bad-angle rocket from the right wing to beat Bryant goalie. The offensive outburst proved too much for the Bulldogs to overcome, as Walsh answered Bryant’s two fourth quarter goals with his third tally in the game’s waning seconds. The former Patriot League Rookie of the Year has now recorded 14 career hat tricks and has scored at least one goal in 32 consecutive games dating back to the second game of his career, a streak that leads all current NCAA Division I lacrosse players.

Head Coach Mike Murphy’s defense put forward one of its staunchest performances in recent memory, holding an opponent to less than five tallies for only the second time since 2011. First-year goalie Brandon Burke had a memorable debut, displaying quick hands and surprising mobility en route to a nine-save game.

Burke was one of multiple underclassmen to play significant minutes for a Raiders’ defensive unit, which relies heavily on the leadership of mainstay seniors Boyle and  Bobby Lawrence. Lawrence, a preseason All-American and draftee of Major League Lacrosse’s Florida Launch, caused two turnovers and upheld his reputation as a physical player; the defenseman briefly left the contest after his hit on Bryant’s Tucker James reopened a gash on his eyebrow for the third time this month.

“We want to play a physical game on defense. That’s our goal every week. I hope I still have an eyebrow after the season, though,” Lawrence said when asked about the injury.

Boyle was a vacuum cleaner of sorts, sucking up a team high six ground balls to go along with one caused turnover. “Playing well off the ground always helps, but when you get strong face-off play like we did today it makes my job a lot easier,” Boyle said.

Alex Kinnealey, Colgate’s face-off specialist, impressed in a matchup many thought would be tilted in Bryant’s favor. The Bulldog’s Kevin Massa won 75 percent of his draws last season and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s elite face-off men. Kinnealey, however, was undaunted, and slightly edged Massa with eight wins in 15 attempts.

Now 1-0, the team looks to remain undefeated in 2014 when the University of Vermont Catamounts visit Hamilton for a 1 p.m. matchup this Saturday.

Contact Mont Pooley at [email protected].