By Matt Noonan
MILTON, MA – Over the past few seasons, Endicott College’s men’s lacrosse team hasn’t endured too many obstacles when they’ve faced Curry College.
However, against the Colonels on Tuesday, the Gulls needed approximately 45 minutes to mount a seven-goal lead, which helped them escape the comfy confines of Walter M. Katz Field, 14-5.
“I give so much credit to Curry, and Coach [Steve] Batchelor and his team. Those guys came out, and they were fired up and right from the get-go they took it to us and played hard,” said Endicott College head coach Sean Quirk. “I give our guys credit for fighting back, continuing to play hard – particularly in that third and fourth quarter.”
Following the opening face-off, Curry College earned a 1-0 lead when Russell Lanham, (two goals) fired a shot past Endicott College junior netminder Tom Burke, (seven saves) before the Gulls answered with two back-to-back strikes by senior Brendan Eppley, (five goals, one assist).
The Colonels evened the score prior to the end of the first session when sophomore Connor Arnold netted the team’s second goal.
Both teams then registered an additional strike once the second quarter started, but eventually, Endicott earned the lead for good when Eppley connected with junior Peter Erickson during the final minute of the first half, which gave the Gulls a 4-3 lead heading into the break that they never relinquished.
“Curry was throwing some different looks at us defensively, and we couldn’t get in a rhythm offensively into our systems, which we wanted to run and we had a tough time pushing transition, which we like to do and again, Curry did a great job of taking part of our game plan away from us,” Quirk said of his team’s first half play.
Once the second half commenced, Eppley ignited the Gulls offense with two back-to-back tallies before Endicott registered eight more goals, which helped them preserve their sixth victory of the season.
“We were kind of all over the place in the beginning. Our offense was a little sloppy, so he [coach] brought us in, and told us if we run our systems, we [would] be a lot better, so we just kind of had to start over again and take it from there,” Eppley said of his team’s second half performance.
“[In] the second half, [our team] came out strong and really ran our systems and played hard,” said Quirk. “I’m proud of them for that.”
Curry managed to tally two goals late in the fourth quarter, but those strikes didn’t exactly propel a comeback for the Colonels, who endured their first conference loss of the season.
“They’re a very physical team, so they definitely brought it to us, and we needed our best to get it done,” said Eppley.
Erickson finished the game with two goals, while seven Endicott College players each registered one tally.
“We’ve played some great teams, some of the top teams in the country early on in the year, and that’s why we play them. We play them to beat them, but to also make us better and make us more prepared for our conference games, which are obviously the most important and this Curry team played hard tonight, and they did a great job out there,” said Quirk.
Endicott will look to earn their fifth consecutive victory on Saturday when they travel to Wesleyan, while Curry will attempt to snap their one-game skid against Gordon College on April 3.