The men’s lacrosse team split their last two games, dropping their home opener to Dartmouth, 7-3, last Saturday on a snowy Tyler’s Field. However, they were able to bounce back and defeat the Vermont Catamounts, 11-10, on Tuesday to get their first win of the year.
Due to the snowy conditions, there was not a whole lot of offense generated in the first half against Dartmouth. The Big Green struck first when Dartmouth senior attackman Ari Sussman tallied his first goal of the season with just over four minutes left in the opening period. However, the Raiders scored their first goal of the game when senior defensemen Michael Crown was able to beat Dartmouth senior goalie Michael Novosel, coming off of an assist from sophomore attackman Pat Campbell. Several minutes later Dartmouth first-year midfield Chris Costabile got his first collegiate goal to give Dartmouth the 2-1 lead which would hold going into halftime. Costabile was able to tally four points on the day, on two goals and two assists.
The snowy conditions were undoubtedly a factor in the game, but senior goalie Tim Harrington did not think it gave any team a particular advantage. “Especially with the amount of snow that we’ve had so far this winter, I can’t really attribute the conditions to our performance. We’ve been practicing in similar weather since the middle of January, so at this point we’re able to adjust to heavy snowfall,” Harrington said. “Dartmouth is also used to playing under the same conditions. It can be challenging to track the ball through air at times as a goalie, but the fact is that everyone is playing on the same grounds.”
Dartmouth was able to run off the next five goals throughout the third and fourth quarter to give them a 7-1 lead with just over ten minutes remaining. Dartmouth’s goals came from Sussman, Costabile, first-year attackman Nikki Dysenchuk, and two from senior midfielder Christopher Root. Colgate tired to muster a rally in the waning minutes with goals from Campbell and sophomore midfielder John Donnally, but it was too little, too late. Novosel was particularly impressive in goal for the Big Green, making 15 saves and posting a save percentage of 83.3. Harrington made nine saves on the day for the Raiders. The Raiders were able to outshoot Dartmouth 33-26, including a 15-1 advantage in the fourth quarter, “We reached the fourth quarter with only one goal and a large deficit. I think that created a sense of urgency and caused us to take some rushed shots in order to narrow the gap,” Harrington said. “As opposed to working for the best opportunity, we began to the force the ball and took some shots that resulted in easy saves or turnovers.”
The Raiders then pulled out a thrilling game against Vermont on Tuesday afternoon at Andy Kerr Stadium. Campbell netted the game winner with 18.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter off of an assist from sophomore midfielder Chris Zielinski. Zielinski played a huge role for the Raiders down the stretch, having a role in the final three Raider goals. Junior midfielder Ian Murphy led the way for the Raiders with four points on three goals and an assist. Senior midfielder Andrew Parietti also had three points on the day with a pair of goals and an assist.
Vermont jumped out to an early lead when junior attackman Liam Thomas ripped the twine for the first of his career high five goals. However, Colgate bounced back with three goals in five minutes from Parietti, Murphy, and Campbell. Thomas rounded out the scoring in the period with his second of the game to reduce the Raider lead to just one. The teams then traded goals in the second period, each putting home two, but the Raiders were able to escape with a halftime lead when first-year midfielder Peter Baum tallied a goal with less than a second until the halftime whistle. Baum was able to beat Vermont sophomore goalie Alex Plavner with a bounce shot from about 12 yards from the right wing.
The second half continued in the same back and forth nature as the first half, as no team led by more than two goals for the entire game. Thomas still showed he had the hot hand, getting Vermont’s first goal of the second half, his fourth of the game, to tie the score. The Raiders responded with two goals of their own from Murphy and junior midfield David Tucciarone.
However, the Catamounts were not to be fully outmatched, scoring three of the final four goals of the period to tie the game at 8. Vermont was able to get its first lead of the game since the opening stanza when they scored the first goal of the period, courtesy of sophomore attackman Geoff Worley. The teams then traded goals, with two additional Raiders goals coming from Zielinski. Zielinski was able to tie the game up with just under three and a half minutes to go, beating Plavner with a rifle to the near post from the left wing. This set up Campbell for the game winner, as Zielinski was able to find a cutting Campbell who buried his shot in the back of the net to get the Raiders their first win of the 2010 season.
“It’s always nice to come away with a win late in the fourth quarter. Considering that we’ve had a rocky beginning to our season, it is comforting to see some composure in our play, late in the game,” Harrington said. “Our team is young and definitely has the talent to compete with anyone the league, so this victory does provide a level of confidence that we will need to build on as we approach the rest of our season.”
Given that the team lost their top three scorers from last year, it is promising that Colgate was able to generate offense from several sources, as ten different players recorded at least a point. “More than anything else, we need to rely on our depth and versatility. While Corp and Collelouri were extremely productive for us last year, it’s important to realize that we now have a wider range of talent who can put up some goals this year,” Harrington said. “Without the go-to guys of the past few years, we will be forced to play more as a unit. I’m excited to see a number of guys step up on the offensive end of the field this year and spread the point distribution.”
Harrington picked up the victory for Colgate, as he and sophomore goalie Jared Madison split time in goal and both had five saves. Plavner had 11 saves for Vermont in the losing effort.
The Raiders are back in action on Saturday as they take on Hobart at 1 p.m. at Andy Kerr Stadium.