Men’s lacrosse (2-10, 2-6 in the NESCAC) fell to Bowdoin in a heartbreaking 7-8 loss on Saturday in its last home game of the season. The close loss was especially heartbreaking, as it denied the men a spot in NESCAC play-offs. The men came into Saturday’s match-up with a renewed sense of confidence after their second win of the season against Plattsburgh State on Wednesday night.
“Ever since the second half of the Union game [on April 13], our team has played their best lacrosse yet,” Head Coach George McCormack said. “Our recently improved play can be attributed to people getting healthy, maturing underclassmen and some great senior leadership.”
Williams was first on the scoreboard against Bowdoin with a goal by Mike Ryan ’12, assisted by tri-captain Matt Cranshaw ’11, five minutes into the first period. The Polar Bears, however, quickly buried this lead with a four-goal streak, dominating possession of the ball for the rest of the period. With the score at 4-1, Will Stewart ’13 scored off a pass from Tommy Murray ’11 at 13:28. Despite two more offensive attempts by the Ephs, they trailed the Polar Bears 4-2 at the end of the first period.
The men came back determined to close the gap in the second period, as Sam Hargrove ’12 assisted Mike Acierno ’12 on his first goal of the game, bringing the score to 4-3. Bowdoin responded in kind with a goal two minutes later. Hargrove then went on to score a goal of his own assisted by Ryan with five minutes left in the half. Though the Ephs were able to out-score their opponents in the second period, they were down one at the half at 5-4.
Bowdoin and Williams scored one apiece in the third period, with Bowdoin scoring nine minutes into the second half and Williams quickly following suit with a second goal from Hargrove, assisted by Cranshaw. During this period, tri-captain Corey Jacobs ’11 won all three face-offs, giving the men a clear advantage. They were able to maintain possession well, avoiding turnovers and mastering their transitions up the field.
The Ephs entered the fourth period with only a one-goal gap between them and their best chance to make it to play-offs. Though Bowdoin was able to score only three minutes into the period, Williams quickly responded. Hargrove, assisted by Murray, scored with 10:33 left to play, bringing the score to 6-7. Murray then made his third assist of the game, helping Cranshaw to score with 9:06 remaining. Cranshaw’s goal tied the game at 7-7, giving the Ephs a sense of real hope that they would win, but Bowdoin quickly regained the lead with an eighth goal just minutes later. Though eight minutes remained, the Ephs couldn’t maintain possession long enough to score. “A poor start and late turnovers sealed our fate against Bowdoin,” McCormack said.
On Wednesday night, the men faced Plattsburgh State. In beating Plattsburgh 18-9, the men were able to maintain control of the ball for most of the game as well as take advantage of almost every scoring opportunity.
Ryan Prokesch ’14 was the first to put Williams on the scoreboard, as he scored four minutes into the game with an assist by Hargrove. Ryan built off this momentum, snagging an unassisted goal at 5:56 and bringing the score to 2-0. Plattsburgh then battled back with three consecutive goals within the last five minutes of the period. The first period ended with the Ephs trailing 2-3.
Plattsburgh continued its streak in the opening of the second period, scoring a fourth goal less than two minutes after resuming play. Prokesch, assisted by Murray, struck again at 3:02 in the second period to bring the score to 3-4. Hargrove assisted Cranshaw to his first goal of the game, tying the score up at 4-4 with 10 minutes remaining in the half. The two teams alternated face-off control for the remainder of the second period and answered each of the other’s goals. Plattsburgh scored with nine minutes left, and six minutes later, Murray fed the ball to Mericos Rhodes ’14, who tied the score up at 5-5 with a little over three minutes on the clock. Plattsburgh scored with 1:20 left, but Mike Ryan ’11 quickly answered, scoring the final goal of the half with 30 seconds remaining to tie the game 6-6.
The Ephs dominated the third period, outscoring their opponents 4-1. Tucker Dayton ’14 scored 6:39 into the second half. Hargrove then assisted Ryan ’12 on a beautiful low goal with 21:47 left in the game. Hargrove went on to score a goal of his own a minute later, bringing the score to 9-6. Stewart took advantage of a man-up opportunity to score the Ephs’ fourth goal of the period with a little under five minutes remaining on the third. Though Plattsburgh was able to sneak in another goal, the men maintained a solid three-goal lead with the score at 10-7 going into the final period.
The final period was action-packed with a combined total of 10 goals scored. Williams outscored Plattsburgh 8-2 on the period. Stewart scored 30 seconds into the period and then again a minute later off an assist by Tim Goggins ’12. Cranshaw secured his second goal of the game with 12:46 left on the clock; this brought the Ephs to a 13-7 lead. Plattsburgh attempted a comeback with two consecutive goals, narrowing the margin to four at 13-9. The men, however, were determined to get the win and finished off the game with an impressive five-goal streak. Prokesch struck with 10:44 on the clock, with Murray assisting Goggins to another goal just 30 seconds later. Acierno ripped a shot to the back of the net with 3:22 remaining, bringing the score to 16-9. Stephen Upton ’14 and Acierno closed the game with one goal apiece in the last few minutes, making the final score 18-9.
“We are looking forward to the Middlebury game,” McCormack said. “We will continue to practice hard and look to play four solid quarters of lacrosse.”
The men will play their final game of the season on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Middlebury. “The team realizes that this is our last game and we would like to send our seniors out as winners and also set the tone for next year’s returners,” McCormack said.