Ephs drop pair of one-goal contests

One-goal games have been a recurring theme for men’s lacrosse (5-7, 3-6 in the NESCAC) this past week, a theme that unfortunately has not been in the men’s favor. The men played Amherst last Saturday and Hamilton last Wednesday, leaving only Middlebury left on the schedule. Despite hard-fought battles, the Ephs found themselves one goal short on both occasions, losing 10-9 to the Jeffs and 8-7 to the Continentals.

Under clear skies and in slightly chilly conditions, the men hosted rival Amherst last Saturday. The Ephs fell to the Jeffs by one goal without going into overtime. As with any Amherst/Williams match-up, the decades old rivalry heated up both the intensity of the play and the cheering section. From the first few minutes of the first quarter, it was clear that the game would be an exciting one. Amherst tallied the first point with a goal by Devin Acton. However, it was answered with a goal by Jack Lauroesch ’16, assisted by Colton Growney ’13. With more goals by both teams, including a second by Lauroesch and another by Colin Foster ’14, the first quarter ended with Amherst ahead 4-3.

The second quarter opened with back-and-forth goals between Amherst and Williams. Tri-captain Will Stewart ’13 scored to bring the Ephs back within one after the Jeffs scored one just seconds into the second period. The Jeffs responded with another tally, but the Ephs stormed back, sparked by a goal from Bryson Gilbert-Bono ’16. Steven Kiesel ’15 then tied the game at 6-6. After a goal by Gilbert-Bono with 2:42 remaining in the second quarter, the Ephs were ahead of the Jeffs for the first time that game. Yet a quick shot from Amherst right before the buzzer brought the teams to 7-7 going into halftime.

The second half began with a battle for possession; the teams traded the ball as well as sides of the field for the first eight minutes of the third quarter before Amherst scored two quick goals. Andy Grabowski ’15 netted one for the Ephs and the two teams went into the fourth quarter with a score of 9-8 in Amherst’s favor. The Jeffs kept this lead for the fourth quarter, and despite goals by both teams, the Ephs lost 10-9.

Although Amherst had 19 turnovers to Williams’ 13 turnovers, the men did not capitalize on the extra opportunities. The teams were relatively even in shots, with Amherst taking a total of 35 and Williams taking 33. However, the Jeffs obtained over half of both faceoffs and groundballs throughout the game.

The away game at Hamilton last Wednesday brought the men their closest contest, pitting two evenly matched teams against each other in a game that ended in an overtime period. The Ephs seized the ball quickly and set the tone for the first quarter, which ended with the Ephs ahead 3-1, after goals by tri-captain Evan Dedominicis ’13, Grabowski and Conor Roddy ’16. The second quarter brought much back-and-forth between the two teams, yet Williams entered the third quarter with a three-goal lead, 5-2. Kiesel and Growney scored the two goals in the second quarter for the men.

Kiesel scored again to open the third quarter, bringing the score to 6-2. However, Hamilton surged through the Williams defensive end in the third quarter, scoring three goals in succession and even slipping one in with three seconds left in the quarter, pulling within one at 6-5. Though Growney scored another goal in the fourth quarter, Hamilton scored two, so the teams went into overtime tied 7-7. With 14 seconds left, Hamilton forced a turnover that led to a clear. Hamilton’s Bryan Hopper scored the last goal that ensured his team a victory. An undeniably even game, the Ephs and the Continentals even paired up in stats. Williams had 30 groundballs, while Hamilton had 29, and Hamilton took 42 shots, while  Williams only took 31.

“Losing two one-goal conference games during this critical time of the year can wear on any team,” Head Coach George McCormack said. “Fortunately, we have a very resilient group of guys who remain very optimistic and motivated to execute better in the future so we win the close games. We are excited about the opportunity to play Middlebury on Wednesday and compete for our seniors and for the Thomsen Trophy.”

The men will play against Middlebury today at 6 p.m. at Renzie Lamb Field. The Panthers come into the contest with an 11-2 overall record, 7-2 in the NESCAC. The home contest will be the last game of the regular season.