Men’s lacrosse falls 4-3 to Wesleyan in defensive battle

Men’s lacrosse (1-9, 1-6 in the NESCAC) continued its grueling season with Saturday’s away game against conference foe Wesleyan. In their closest game of the season, the men came up short, letting Wesleyan sneak away with a 4-3 win. The men also fell to Union 10-7 on Wednesday.

The men had a dynamic first quarter against Wesleyan. With tri-captain Corey Jacobs ’11 commanding control on nearly every face-off, the Ephs had the advantage. Jacobs was able to score the first goal of the game with an unassisted run from midfield off the face-off just 11 seconds into play. The Pioneers responded with a goal six minutes later, tying up the score at 1-1. With 4:43 remaining in the first period, Ryan Prokesch ’14 was assisted by teammate Tommy Murray ’11 for a goal, garnering a 2-1 lead for the Ephs.

Going into the second period, Williams continued this momentum as Mike Ryan ’12, assisted by Sam Hargrove ’12, scored the team’s third goal, bringing the score to 3-1. Wesleyan was quick to answer Ryan’s goal, getting on the scoreboard a second time five minutes into the period. Though each team made runs in the final 10 minutes of the second period, the score remained 3-2 at the half. This was the first time this season that the men have gone into the half with a lead against their opponent.
However, Wesleyan came back stronger than expected in the third period, scoring just 30 seconds into the second half. Ten minutes later the Cardinals scored again, bringing the score to 4-3. Despite the men’s hard-fought fourth period, this score persisted until the final buzzer.

While Williams fell drastically behind Wesleyan in shots taken – 14 to their 37 – the men were tied in ground ball victories and were able to win all but two of 11 face-offs. Six penalties against Williams hampered the men’s game on Saturday; while Wesleyan never scored while man-up, the Ephs’ disadvantage lent the Cardinals’ offense extra strength throughout the game.

“Despite the loss, I was incredibly proud of the team’s performance,” co-captain David Fitzpatrick ’11 said. “We played with an incredible amount of pride and intensity in one of the toughest environments in the NESCAC.”

Earlier in the week, the men fell to Union on Wednesday night. Union came out with a fight, as midfielder Ted McKenna scored the first two goals of the game right from the get-go for a 2-0 tally. Prokesch was finally able to get the Ephs on the scoreboard with little under two minutes left in the first period. The Bulldogs quickly fought back, however, and scored a third goal off a man-up opportunity with 10 seconds remaining, bringing back their two-point lead at 3-1. Coming into the second period, Williams started off well with an unassisted goal from Ben Bourke ’13, but was quickly swept away by Union’s strong offense. The Ephs let the Bulldogs slide in three more goals in the final five minutes of the half for a 6-2 halftime score.

Union opened the second half with a goal three minutes in, but Williams was quick to get back on the scoreboard as Will Stewart ’13 scored his first goal of the game at 5:07 into the third period. Hargrove then went on to score a goal with seven seconds left on the third, narrowing Union’s lead to four at 8-4.

Union came out strong in the final period of the game, scoring its ninth goal with just 12:27 remaining in play. Jacobs fought back to bring the score to 9-5 with his first goal of the game at 4:29 in the fourth. Union shot another one back up on the scoreboard with just under 10 minutes remaining, making it 9-6.

In the final five minutes of the game, the Ephs again found their momentum, as Hargrove scored another goal with 4:57 remaining on the clock and Bourke got a goal with just under two minutes left in play. Despite their late-game efforts, the Ephs’ comeback was not enough, and the men fell to Union by a score of 10-7.

The men will play again tonight against the men from Pittsburgh State at home at 6 p.m. and will take on Bowdoin at home on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“We were able to give Wesleyan all they could handle on their senior day,” Fitzpatrick said. “Hopefully this weekend we can get a similar win on our senior day and a playoff berth.”

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