Men’s lacrosse launched into its season with a 9-7 loss to Colby on Saturday. In the relatively warm conditions of Maine, the Ephs were unable to keep up with the Mules’ consistent offensive skills. Although the team has picked up several skilled first-years, the combined talent of the team was not enough to overcome Colby’s relentless attacks.
“Our game vs. Colby was decided by inability to win face-offs, groundballs and clear the ball effectively,” Head Coach George McCormack said.
Colby broke open the game in the first period, leaving Williams to play catch up from the very beginning. In the opening quarter, the Mules made 12 shots on goal compared to the Ephs’ four. After 10 scoreless minutes, the Mules scored two consecutive goals. Participating in one of the most effective offensive plays of the game, Matt Cranshaw ’11 put Williams on the scoreboard with 5:32 remaining. The home team’s offensive efforts yielded a 3-1 score by the end of this opening quarter. Goalie and co-captain Michael Gerbush ’09, however, was a formidable block in the net and managed to make seven saves in the first quarter alone. Colby’s ability to pick up 11 ground balls compared to Williams’ three contributed in pushing the Ephs into an early deficit.
In the second period however, the team increased its concentration and fought back determinedly. The Ephs upped their aggression, hustling to make nine shots on goal while the Mules racked up only eight. In the same fashion as the first, the second period also saw zero turnovers from either team, but the Ephs’ ability to pick up two more ground balls than the Mules spoke to the team’s resolve. Co-captain Kevin Connolly ’09 and Michael Acierno ’12 sealed a tied score for the Ephs in the beginning of the period with double unassisted goals. Colby then reclaimed its lead with a goal at 5:41 remaining. Though Cranshaw answered the Colby attack with his second goal of the game, the Mules responded aggressively with two more goals to end the period 6-4 in their favor.
The second half of the game saw the Ephs struggle to match the Mules’ strength before the game eventually slipped away from them. Two of each team’s total 12 attempts yielded goals, but the Ephs remained behind from their scoreboard shortcomings in the first quarter. Unfortunately, the momentum the Mules used to open the game carried them through to a victory in the final quarter, though first-year attacker Sam Hargrove ’12 scored the first goal of the quarter to give the Ephs a promising start. Although Williams made three more goal attempts than Colby, Hargrove’s shot was the only one of the team’s seven to soar past the opposing goalie. Colby also notched a final point in the final minute of the period, and despite last minute efforts to even the score, Williams suffered a disappointing defeat.
Despite the fact that the game dealt the Ephs a tough loss, several players used this first chance at official competition to test their training and prove their potential. Cranshaw, Hargrove, Bryan Wrapp ’10, David Hawley ’11, Acierno and Connolly proved the depth of the team’s offensive force by scoring, but the game also showcased the Ephs’ defensive ability. In particular, preseason honored All-American Gerbush – who played all 60 minutes of the game – made 15 total saves compared to Colby goalie Alex Farmer’s 14.
The men played Endicott yesterday, but the results came in too late for reporting. The team will play in its second NESCAC game of the season on Sunday against Bates at home.