Men’s LAX in three way tie for 2nd

As was the story in most of the country, freakish weather in Williamstown caused mayhem for the spring sports schedules after spring break. With snow carpeting Cole Field, men’s lacrosse was supposed to have already played three home games and be further along in its schedule. Instead, they were forced to play two games back-to-back over the weekend, beating the Trinity Bantams 9-8 but falling Sunday to Bowdoin by a score of 15-14.

The Ephmen (6-2, 3-1 in the NESCAC) fall into second place in the conference, tied with Amherst and Tufts and trailing Middlebury. However, the Ephs have played none of those teams, and will only have two home games, against Middlebury and Amherst, to close out the season. Should the teams play to form, those three games could determine who wins the NESCAC championship.

On Sunday against the Polar Bears, the Ephs came out flat, falling behind in the first period by a score of 6-2 at the first break, and 11-5 at half. Head Coach Renzie Lamb, who had been very pleased at the way the Ephs had played over the break, must have been disappointed at the way that the Ephs opened.

Scott Wilbur ’04, who continues to pace the Ephs with 23 goals and four assists, was fantastic again on the weekend. In Sunday’s game, he added three goals and two assists, and tri-captain Chris Hayes ’03 continued to improve his play, scoring four goals and adding one assist.

The offensive outburst was not unexpected, as the Ephs are averaging almost 11 goals a game. However, the defense, just as it had against Hamilton earlier in the year, was unexpectedly porous, giving up the same number to the opponents that they had against the Continentals in March.

The Eph defense had shown signs of problems on the weekend. Saturday, against Trinity, the Williams had clamped down in the opening quarter, keeping the Bantams to just two goals while putting in five of their own. But the story of the game was the ability of the Ephs to keep the clamps on just enough, as they held leads of just one goal at the half, and also at the end of the game.

Wilbur was unbelievable on Saturday, as he as been all season. The junior midfielder poured in five goals and has become the Ephs’ primary option on offense.

The play of the Ephmen has been very strong. They played two games in Florida, and were scheduled to have three here at home during the second week. However, the weather didn’t cooperate, and so the schedule for the Ephs could be hectic. Already, the rescheduling of the Bowdoin game to Sunday forced the pushback of Tuesday’s game against Connecticut College to Wednesday. In addition, with two weather-postponed games still to be rescheduled, the shape of the season remains to be determined.

However, the Ephs have shown that they are a strong team, as their efforts in Florida against traditional NESCAC foe Colby and Union College led to wins of 15-8 and 9-5, respectively.

The first week back, the Ephs had met the Springfield Pride away, on their Astroturf field, and came away with 12-11 double overtime thriller, a game in which tri-captain Peter Thomson ’03 had the game winner. After having his shot saved, Thomson sprinted back on defense. Anticipating a quick clearance by the Pride netminder, Thomson stuck his stick up in the air with one hand, making a touch catch and taking possession. With all the pressure that the close game and two four goal-deficits from which the Ephs were forced to battle back from, Thomson coolly rifled the ball into the back of the net.

That game against Springfield was on April 2, the last game the Ephs had played outside, until Saturday against Trinity. The layoff showed, and now it’s on the Ephmen to rebound and get ready for what promises to be a hectic stretch of games.