Men’s lacrosse (1-2, 1-1 in the NESCAC) overwhelmed Bates (0-4, 0-2) 10-2 in its first victory of the season on Sunday. The Ephs dominated both offensively and defensively, shutting out the Bobcats in the second and third quarters and maintaining a solid lead throughout the entire game. The win gave the team a fresh start after two losses last week, and handed the Bobcats their fourth consecutive loss since the beginning of the season.
Williams began the game aggressively by not only claiming the face-off but also scoring just a minute into the match-up. Matt Cranshaw ’11, assisted by David Hawley ’11, scored 1:05 into the quarter, forcing Bates to play catch up early in the game. The Ephs never allowed an opening for their opponents and dictated the game’s offensive drives by making eight shots compared to the Bobcats’ four. After almost 13 scoreless minutes, Bates tied up the game at 1-1. The Ephs refused to let their hard-earned lead slip for long, however. With nine seconds remaining, Cranshaw scored his second goal of the game to seal the quarter at 2-1 in the Ephs’ favor. The men’s ability to claim all four face-offs and to pick up 15 ground balls compared to Bates’ eight definitely contributed to the Ephs’ early success.
In the second quarter, the Ephs broke open the game and gained an insurmountable lead with four consecutive unassisted goals. Richard Reuter ’10 spearheaded the assault with two straight goals at 1:45 and 7:53 into the quarter. Williams continued to play assertively, making eight shots on goal compared to four from Bates, and claiming 11 ground balls to the Bobcats’ eight. Bates held strong defensively until the last two minutes, when the Williams offense saw an opening and snuck in two extra goals. Sam Hargrove ’12 scored with 1:53 left in the quarter, and Hawley followed about a minute later with another goal, ending the period at 6-1. The Ephs successfully capitalized on the Bobcats’ eight turnovers to close out the second quarter, and the defense prevented Bates from scoring a single goal.
In the third quarter, Williams continued to dominate while Bates, watching its chances of a victory slowly slipping away, upped its assault on the Ephs’ net. The quarter saw nine turnovers by both teams, but only the Ephs were able to convert offensive opportunities into goals. Less than three minutes after the beginning of the quarter, Reuter, assisted by Bryan Wrapp ’10, scored his third goal of the game and extended the lead to 7-1. Although the Ephs’ offense remained strong, Williams committed a series of three penalties towards the end of the quarter, giving the Bobcats consecutive power plays. The Ephs killed off all three, and although the Bobcats were able to make nine shots on goal to the Ephs’ five, the Williams defense shut Bates out for the second quarter in a row.
Facing an overwhelming deficit, Bates increased its concentration and fought back determinedly. While the Bobcats made more attempts on goal than the Ephs in the final quarter, the Williams defense really shined. Goalie Michael Gerbush ’09 made six saves in the beginning of the quarter while goalie Stephen Vrla ’10 made two. Hawley scored twice in the quarter, first at 3:25 with an assist from Aaron Flack ’11 and again at 5:46 without an assist. Bates ended its two-quarter drought with a goal of its own 1:39 later, but Michael Acierno ’12 responded by scoring the game’s final goal with 3:20 remaining. Bates launched a determined counter-attack in this final period, forcing nine turnovers, but Williams rode on a wave of talent and grit all the way to a domineering 10-2 victory.
Following the win, Head Coach George McCormack felt the team had room for improvement. “I think we need to lessen our penalties,” he said. “We have to lessen our… unforced turnovers.”
Sunday’s win was crucial in testing the team’s abilities. Cranshaw, Reuter, Hargrove, Hawley, Wrapp, Flack and Acierno spearheaded an effective offense, delivering goals when needed, but the game also demonstrated the Ephs’ defensive ability with shut outs in two quarters. The team will look to continue its winning ways against Tufts this Saturday.
“I think the team that commits the fewest penalities and turnovers and the team that has hustles that work will be the team that will win this weekend,” McCormack said of the matchup.