Men’s lax drops season opener

Men’s lacrosse (0-1) took a 3-2 lead at the end of the first quarter in their season-opener, but Hamilton (1-0) netted five goals in the second quarter to retake the lead and downed the Ephs 13-8. The game was played on the artificial turf of Shea Stadium at the U.S. Military Academy. Williams has now fallen to Hamilton two years running.

The Ephs came out sluggish in the second quarter and surrendered five goals to allow the opposition to assume a 7-4 halftime lead from which Hamilton never looked back. Despite some lackadaisical play by the Ephs, all the bounces seemed to go the Continentals’ way in the second quarter, which further exacerbated the situation.

“Nobody’s making any excuses, but they definitely got more bounces going their way, particularly in the second quarter, and that turned the tide a little bit,” said co-captain Scott Goldberg ’02. Hamilton netted four more goals in the third period to the Ephs’ two and owned a commanding 11-6 lead going into the final quarter.

“It was a beautiful day at West Point, and unfortunately for us it turned into such a disappointing game – we definitely could have played better,” said Head Coach Renzie Lamb.

“What it comes down to is that Hamilton came out prepared and ready. I don’t know whether our guys thought it was going to be an easy contest, but we let them outplay us for a good part of the game and as a result they won. You can make a lot of excuses but basically they outplayed us.”

Williams came out with some hop in their step to start the fourth quarter, netting two goals and making it a three-goal contest.

Although the momentum was in the Ephs’ favor, following two shots that ricocheted off the pipes the wind was stripped from their sails. Following Williams’ surge, Hamilton regained its composure and notched two more goals to assume the 13-8 lead.

“I think they came out more fired up than we did, particularly in the second quarter,” said Goldberg. “We were able to make a run late in the game, and I think we showed ourselves that we can play at a level higher than where they can, it was just too late in the game, and we lacked some confidence in the early going.”

Peter Thomson ’03 led the Ephs with four goals and two assists and Chris Hayes ’03 netted two goals and one assist. Single Eph goals were scored by Johnny Kelly ’03 and Geoff McNally ’05.

“Members of the team didn’t play to their potential,” said co-captain Blair Bartlett ’02. “In terms of the talent on each team around the league this year there’s a lot of parity, but if we don’t come out and play our best each day our talent’s going to translate into a lot of losses. That said, if we do play to our ability we should be in a position to make a serious run.”

“It was definitely a disappointing start,” Bartlett said. “We committed a lot of turnovers in transition which gave them a lot of possessions and definitely put them at an advantage.”

Goalie Matt Rade ’04 made 13 saves on the day and allowed 13 goals; his Hamilton counterpart, Brad Wolcott, managed to save 15 of the 23 shots that came his way. It should be noted, however, that many of the shots taken against Rade were from short range following defensive lapses. On the day, the Continentals edged out the Ephs in attempted shots by a final count of 26-23.

The lone bright spot for the Ephs was their man-down defense. The Ephs did not permit a goal in eight man-down situations.

Next up for the Ephs is a March 19 game against Bowdoin in Newport Richey, Florida. The Ephs will also play New England College in Florida the next day before coming back north to complete their schedule.

“What’s important for us going into the next game is we need to come out with the same sort of ‘desperation mode’ intensity that we finished our last game with, if we can do that we should be more successful,” said Lamb. “What we’ve got to do now is get tougher physically on defense. On offense we have to share the rock a little more – we scored eight goals on Sunday and only one was assisted: that’s not Williams lacrosse, that’s not what we want at all.

“I think some of our freshmen and sophomores have realized now what it takes to play at this level and we’re going to count on them to step it up from here on out.”