By Reed Dempsey
The men’s lacrosse team dropped its third straight against a nationally-ranked opponent last Saturday, falling 13-12 in overtime to No. 9 Villanova.
Following two tight losses, the Orange and Blue hoped they could start to turn around their season, but the Wildcats would prove to be their toughest opponent to date. After ‘Nova opened the scoring six minutes into the first quarter, Joe Kearney ’15 tied the game up at 1-1 with his first collegiate goal. Over the next five minutes the Wildcats scored three straight goals to take a 4-1 lead.
The Bison followed with goals by Billy Eisenreich ’12 and Tom Black ’14 to cut the lead to one, but quickly returned to a three-goal deficit as ‘Nova scored back-to-back goals with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
In the closing minutes of the first half, the Bison scored three goals in succession by Nick Gantsoudes ’12, Todd Heritage ’14 and Gantsoudes again to tie the game at six apiece. As the half was coming to an end, the Orange and Blue had possession and a chance to take the lead for the first time of the day, but turned over the ball, a mistake that proved costly as the Wildcats quickly moved the ball down the field and scored to take a 7-6 lead into the break.
‘Nova extended its lead to two early in the third quarter on Jack Rice’s fourth goal for the Wildcats, but the Bison offense again rattled of three goals in row to take their first lead of the day, 9-8.
With just 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter, ‘Nova tied the game up at nine. The two teams battled over the final 15 minutes of regulation in a quarter that featured three lead changes. The Bison held a one-goal lead with just over three minutes remaining, but two Wildcat goals in a span of 10 seconds gave Villanova the 12-11 advantage.
A strong second half by goalie Kyle Feeney ’13, who registered 16 saves on the day, kept the Bison in the game, and with two minutes left the Bison were able to stop ‘Nova and advance the ball into their offensive zone, where David Dickson ’15 found Heritage for his third goal of the day, to tie the game at twelve with 1:22 remaining in regulation.
A minute and a half into the overtime period, the Wildcats took advantage of an extra-man opportunity to score the game-winning goal.
Over the first three games, the Bison have not been at a loss for goals. Little mistakes and miscues that have plagued the Orange and Blue. Mental lapses have cost the team offensive possessions and have special-team situations where opponents have capitalized.
“We have to stress discipline and attention to the little things,” Gantsoudes said. “It’s tedious, but effective.”
Many members of this year’s team were here in 2010 when the Orange and Blue experienced six heartbreaking loses, five of them by just one goal.
“We need to look back on that season and remember how much it hurt,” Feeney said. “We invest so much time and emotion into these games that we need to start learning how to become a better team and avoid being that team that almost was great. We don’t want that to happen again.”
The Bison travel to Annapolis, Md. this Saturday to play Navy in their first Patriot League contest of the season.
“The team’s approach is the same as it’s been since day one, win every game. We are more than capable of beating any opponent on our schedule, and now it’s just a matter of proving it,” Feeney said.