The Colgate men’s lacrosse team has bounced back from its only set back against Dartmouth in triumphant fashion, stringing together five consecutive wins over the last two-plus weeks. The team now finds itself ranked No. 12/13 in the two respective national polls following wins over Robert Morris, Hobart, Holy Cross, Binghamton and the previously undefeated Fair-field. The offense has fueled the Raiders to these victories as they tallied 24, 18, 13, 17 and 12 goals in all of their wins and now boast the sec-ond best offense in the nation. Junior Peter Baum has continued his phenomenal season, leading the nation in points with 45, as well as goals with 33. He earned Nike Player of the Week honors for his performance against Robert Morris. He also earned two Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week awards. First-year Ryan Walsh also earned two straight Patriot League Rookie of the Week awards. Sophomore Bobby Lawrence earned Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Binghamton and Fairfield.
“I can definitely attribute my immediate suc-cess as a first-year player to my teammates and coaches,” Walsh said. “I have been lucky enough to find myself on the receiving end of a lot of great plays by my teammates as well. Work-hors-es like John Donnelly and Jimmy Ryan really help us in our transition game, which our team has been capitalizing on a lot lately.”
Thirteen different Raiders scored at least one point this past weekend, and eleven of them tal-lied goals in the men’s lacrosse team’s blow out of Robert Morris University, 24-14. It was the most goals Colgate scored in a single game since 1990 when the Raiders beat Air Force, 27-8. The 10- goal margin of victory was the team’s largest since it beat Holy Cross, 22-9, in 2009.
Colgate tweaked its usual line-up, moving Baum from midfield to attack, as well as adding sophomore Brendan McCann to the attack unit. Senior Jeff Ledwick and first-year Matt Clarkson were moved to the midfield.
The lineup shift worked greatly as Colgate’s offense came out on fire. The Raiders scored 11 goals in the first quarter, more than they had scored in any game at that point in their season, on their way to scoring 18 in the first half. Junior Peter Baum tallied his most points in a single game as a Raider, providing one third of the team’s total goals with eight. Baum also dished out two assists to reach ten points on the after-noon. He was incredibly efficient, only having to take 11 shots to amass his eight goals. The Raiders led by as much as 14 and cruised to the blow-out victory.
“Moving Pete to attack definitely helped our offensive production,” Walsh said. “He draws most of the attention from opposing defenses which has opened up more opportunities for other guys to step up and make plays.”
The offense did not lose a beat when it took on Hobart at home the following Tuesday earn-ing another double-digit victory by the score of 18-8. Peter Baum followed up his stellar perfor-mance with another, tallying nine points on the afternoon. Ledwick tallied four points with a hat trick and an assist. The game was never very close as Colgate led by two after the first quarter, by five at half and by eight after the third. The of-fensive attack remained balanced throughout, scoring nine goals in each half.
The Raiders opened up their Patriot League schedule against Holy Cross, defeating the Cru-saders, 13-9. Colgate continued its streak of starting hot, getting the first goal of the game just over a minute into the game, on the way to lead-ing 4-2 after the first period. The game remained close throughout, but the Raiders never trailed. The Crusaders did manage to tie the game up in the second at 4-4 and third period at 6-6, but the Raiders rallied off four consecutive goals after to put the score at 10-6
Walsh and Baum continued to be a two-headed monster for the Colgate offensive attack, as both had five points in the contest. Senior goalie Jared Madison had eight stops for Colgate in net.
The Raiders re-entered the national polls fol-lowing their three consecutive wins, and were ranked 17th prior to taking on the Binghamton Bearcats. While this game did not have large na-tional implications for the Raiders, the Bearcats had beaten the Raiders the previous two seasons. Colgate certainly played like they were hungry for some revenge, beating Binghamton by a score of 17-8. Walsh had his best game as a Raider in his young career, scoring seven points with four goals and three assists.
“The first few games of the season I definitely was a little inexperienced,” Walsh said. “Lately I have become more confident and have been contributing a lot more to the team’s success. I had to transition from a more individual game in high school to a more team-oriented game in college where the defenses work very well as a unit. Thus, in order to break a college defense down you have to work as one and stick to the game plan the coaches draw up.”
Baum also tallied another five points with a hat-trick and two assists. Junior midfielder Robert Grabher, who has been excellent at the face-off X all season for the Raiders, had the best game of his collegiate career with a pair of goals and a pair of assists. Colgate was aided by huge first and third quarters, scoring seven and six goals respectively. After the first quar-ter, Colgate led 7-3, and led by as much as 10 in the second half.
Colgate wrapped up its spring break games against Fairfield last Saturday at Andy Kerr Stadium. Fairfield came in possessing a perfect 7-0 record and was the 13th ranked team in the country. This was a statement game for the Raiders, and they did just that, doubling up the Stags, 12-6. Baum again led the way for Colgate, scoring six points with four goals and two assists. Over the last five games, Baum has scored 33 points with 22 goals and 11 assists. Walsh and Ledwick also both had significant contributions to the Raiders’ offensive attack, both tallying three points with two goals and an assist. Junior defenseman James Queeney also had a goal, the third Raider defenseman to find the back of the net this season.
Much like in every game during the Raiders’ win streak, the team came out hot. The Raid-ers had three goals in the first seven minutes on the way to a five-goal first quarter. Colgate led throughout and, much like all of its wins during its streak, dominated in ground balls as well as shots. Madison had his best game of the season, recording 11 saves between the pipes.
Colgate’s 7-1 record through eight games is the team’s best start since 1993 when the team started 8-1. The team looks to match that this Saturday when it takes on the Navy Midshipmen. The game will feature the top-two points scorers in the country with Peter Baum and Navy’s sophomore attackman Tucker Hull. Baum currently holds a 35-game points streak, and the only time he was held pointless as a Raider was the second game of his first-year season. The game will take place at Andy Kerr Stadium, with a 2 p.m. start time.
Contact Steve Urban at [email protected]