Men’s lacrosse routs Bowdoin

Men’s lacrosse (5-5, 4-3 in the NESCAC) extended its winning streak to four victories in a 10-7 triumph over Bowdoin (7-4, 4-2) at home on Saturday. The Ephs’ offensive and defensive abilities shone as they maintained a lead through the entire game; they even shut out the Polar Bears in the first and fourth quarters. The win dealt Bowdoin its third consecutive loss and placed Williams sixth in the NESCAC rankings.

Williams set the tone of the game with an aggressive start. The team claimed the face-off and scored slightly more than a minute into the first quarter when Matt Cranshaw ’11, assisted by Richard Reuter ’10, netted a goal. While the Ephs were able to take eight shots on goal over the Polar Bears’ six, Bowdoin was able to claim 12 ground balls over Williams’ nine. Bowdoin also forced eight turnovers, compared to five from Williams. The Ephs, however, successfully converted their shots into goals and exerted strong defensive effort to cut the Polar Bears short of scoring a single point. After more than 10 scoreless minutes, Williams’ offensive efforts paid off when Michael Acierno ’12 delivered an unassisted goal with 3:44 left. The quarter ended with a score of 2-0.

In the second quarter, the Ephs continued their offensive dominance with four more goals. David Hawley ’11 spearheaded the assault by scoring an unassisted goal 2:44 into the quarter. The Ephs then scored two more in a row – the first from Bryan Wrapp ’10 and the second from Tommy Murray ’11, for whom Cranshaw made the assist. Williams played even more aggressively this period, taking 14 shots on goal compared to Bowdoin’s nine. The men also managed 13 ground balls over the Polar Bears’ 12. However, with 1:50 left in the period, Bowdoin finally saw an opening and scored. Less than a minute later, Hawley responded with his second goal of the quarter, and Reuter made the assist. The Polar Bears, determined not to let the lead grow wider, scored the final goal of the quarter with 34 seconds remaining, bringing the score to 6-2 in the Ephs’ favor.

Facing a four-goal deficit, Bowdoin increased its concentration and launched a counterattack in the third. The Polar Bears scored a mere 14 seconds into the period, but Sam Hargrove ’12 responded just as quickly with two consecutive goals. Hargrove first scored 48 seconds in on an assist from Cranshaw and then delivered an unassisted goal just eight seconds later. But after this strong response, Bowdoin gradually took control of the quarter. The Polar Bears scored four goals in a row in the remaining 14 minutes. With 13 goal attempts, the Polar Bears more than doubled the Ephs’ shots on goal. They also picked up 15 ground balls over the Ephs’ eight. By the end of the third, the Ephs saw the game become a close one-point contest. Though Williams remained ahead, the 8-7 score left room for either team to earn a win in the fourth.

However, the Ephs pulled through in the final quarter by making two final goals and shutting down Bowdoin’s offense. Bowdoin still played the more aggressive game, making eight shots on goal to the Ephs’ six and picking up six more ground balls. But unlike their opponents, the Ephs were able to make use of their plays and score. Goalie Michael Gerbush ’09 also made three important saves to hold the Polar Bears to their seven points. The game was extremely close until the very end, with no scoring until the final two minutes. After aggressive back-and- forth action, Acierno notched a goal with 2:15 left on an assist from Wrapp. Cranshaw, assisted by Murray, sealed the game with 48 seconds remaining. After a hard-fought match, the team defeated Bowdoin by a respectable three-point margin.

After a shaky beginning to their season, men’s lacrosse has rallied with four straight wins over Conn. College, Amherst, Skidmore and now Bowdoin. The Ephs also played against Union at home last night, but the results came in too late for reporting. The team will next compete in an away conference game against Wesleyan on Saturday.