Men’s LAX suffers first loss of the season

Men’s lacrosse (2-1, 1-0 in NESCAC) split two games this weekend, beating Skidmore 12-8 on Wednesday before suffering their first loss on Saturday at the hands of Hamilton, falling by a final score of 15-8.

Leading the way for the Ephmen through the week was tri-captain Chris Hayes ’03, who had four goals and five assists. Close behind was fellow middie Scott Wilbur ’04, who had five goals.

Head Coach Renzie Lamb was disappointed with the way the week ended. “It was not a good effort,” Lamb said, “But they’re a very good team and we were able to hang with them. We just couldn’t put the hammer down on them [Hamilton].”

Indeed, Williams kept the score close for most of the game, though they entered halftime down 8-3. The Eph midfield remained their strongest offensive option, as Wilbur scored four goals on the day. Fellow middie Hayes had only one goal, but kept the Eph attack well oiled with three assists.

But the five-goal deficit was too much to overcome, and the Continentals were able to keep a comfortable four-goal cushion for most of the second half. With Williams pressing forward trying to get the goals they needed to pull closer, Hamilton (3-0) was able to counterattack and score five goals in the final period, pulling away for the final margin of victory.

Matt Rade ’04, the hero of last weekend’s game against Bates, was superb in the net once more, tallying 10 saves to keep the Ephs close, but the power of the Hamilton attack was too much for Rade and his defense to handle. “Falling behind really hurt us,” the junior said. “We had to change defense to one that tried to get the ball on the ground. They move it really well, and that’s what gave them those goals in the fourth quarter.”

Wilbur too was disappointed by the way the day went. “The offense never really clicked today,” he said. “We definitely took a step back [from where we were Wednesday against Skidmore].”

Three days earlier, the Ephs had followed their season opening win with an impressive win against Skidmore (1-2), once again on the road. Ward Bitter ’05 continued to have a hot hand, scoring his second and third goals of the year and adding two assists.

A more surprising contribution came from Timmy Pingree ’06, who tallied five assists in only his second game, as the Ephs opened a 3-1 first quarter lead and never trailed.

The keys to the effective play were two of Williams’ three captains, as Hayes and Peter Thomson ’03 were dominant. Hayes recorded a hat-trick and assisted on two other goals, tying Pingree as the team’s high scorer.

The offensive firepower, however, was aided, and at the same time, overshadowed by the play of Thomson. “Thomson was outstanding on faceoffs,” Lamb said. “Just astounding.” The play of the senior face-off specialist was indeed noteworthy, as the Ephs won 12 of the 19 face-offs in the game. Rade concurred with his coach’s assessment, singling out Thomson as the player of the match. “We came in thinking we wouldn’t win a face-off,” the goalie said. “I don’t think that Pete lost a single one.” Just as he had against Bates, the style in which Thomson won his battles aided the offense, as the clean wins, and the odd-man rushes those victories generated, allowed the senior to tally two goals of his own.

Coming back from the win over the Thoroughbreds, Lamb was very pleased with his team, and their ability to respond to the lack of offense in their opener. “This was a great game, we were playing really well. If you can pick up victories on the road, that’s good,” Lamb said.

The 12-8 score was more typical of lacrosse than was the 4-2 score by which the Ephs had beaten Bates. The ability of the Ephs to score goals, even though they may not be on top of their game, is a promising sign as the team heads into the thick of their schedule, and the Ephs are hoping to keep building on this run.

Williams plays five games, including three on Cole Field, while the rest of the student body is on spring break. The Ephs will take on Genesseeo and Salisbury State, the number two team in the nation, in scrimmages the first three days in Florida. Then they face Colby in a NESCAC game, closing out the southern swing with a game against Union. Returning home, the Ephmen square off against Springfield on April 2, followed by NESCAC matches against Tufts and Bowdoin.