Tag: NCAA Lax

Mass College Lax Recap: Tufts 9, Bowdoin College 8 (2OT)

By Matt Noonan

MEDFORD, MA – Tufts University sophomore Beau Wood knew that once the second-overtime in Sunday’s NESCAC championship commenced, the Jumbos needed to score.

“They got the ball first [in the] second overtime, [but] we have all [the] faith in our defense, we knew they were going to make a stop, and knew that we had to just end it, so we got it,” said Wood. “Obviously in that two slide area, and finally got one to fall, that’s about it.”

Wood collected a pass from senior teammate Geordie Schafer on the left side of the Bowdoin zone, and rocketed a shot past the Polar Bears senior netminder Christopher Williamson, (13 saves) for the clincher at 1:50, which propelled the Jumbos to a 9-8 victory at Bello Field.

“Getting one for the seniors this year, especially – it’s just terrific, great feeling,” Wood said of his team’s third consecutive conference crown.

“It’s so simple. We’re a second a way, a goal away from being a donkey, and we don’t want to take that one for granted [because] we have a ton of respect for Bowdoin, and they gave us 60 minutes and then some and [I’m] just happy to be out on top,” said Tufts University head coach Mike Daly.

Tufts began the game with two back-to-back strikes from senior co-captains Kevin McCormack and Sean Kirwan, (four goals) before Bowdoin rallied to tie the game with two unassisted tallies by senior Keegan Mehlorn, (three goals) and sophomore Franklin Reis, (two goals, one assist).

Mehlorn provided Bowdoin with their first lead of the contest two minutes after the Polar Bears evened the score, but Tufts answered when Kirwan crashed the net for his second strike at 2:58 in the opening quarter.

Bowdoin retained the lead halfway through the second frame with a tally by Reis, which gave the Polar Bears a 4-3 advantage at the break.

Entering the second half, both squads swapped leads until Kirwan sparked a three-goal rally halfway through the third frame, which provided Tufts with a two-goal advantage that was erased late in the fourth quarter by Melhorn and sophomore Will Wise.

“They did a terrific job getting it around, and getting really good lucks,” Wood said of Bowdoin’s fourth quarter rally. “Definitely credit to them, and their defense did a good job making us settle four outside shots and their goalie made a lot of saves.”

Wise, who tied the game at 8, capitalized on a forced turnover by senior Greg Pierce to force two additional sessions after he sent the ball past sophomore goaltender Patton Watkins, (sevens saves) at 1:19.

“We knew they were going to make adjustments, we knew they were [going] to be there and make plays, and thankfully we made one more play than them [on Sunday],” said Daly.

Tufts recorded two shots in the first overtime, while Bowdoin mustered one, but the Jumbos eventually found the back of Williamson’s cage after a Polar Bears turnover and out of bounds clear in the sixth frame, which set up the game-winner by Wood.

“Honestly that goal was exactly everything we’re looking for,” said Daly. “We dodged in the middle, and then they slid to us and we made a good decision to get it to Beau and Beau was the open man and he hit his shot and we expect that of all six offensive players out there, so Beau’s had a tremendous year and he works his rear end off.”

Mass College Lax Recap: Bentley 9, Pace 2

By Hayden Bird 

WALTHAM, MA – The Bentley Falcons dominated the Pace Setters 9-2 in both teams Northeast-10 Conference opener, moving the Falcons firmly into the 2012 win column.

For Bentley (1-2), this was an enormous win, as it was not only their first win of the season (as well as conference win), but it was their home opener. For Pace (1-3), it represents a disappointing blow on the heels of a series of tough losses.

“We knew that we had to go out and refine what we’ve been doing, not necessarily what teams have been doing to us,” noted Bentley head coach Jim Murphy. “That was our approach, we need to take care of our stuff and hopefully it would be good enough. And today it was to some level.”

The game began with early pressure from Pace, who were eager to pile onto Bentley’s disappointing start to the 2012 season.

Yet the Falcons quickly asserted control over the game, and after a tentative start found the goal through senior captain Richard Travers, whose man up strike made him (temporarily) the team’s leader in points (6).

And the early goal only jumpstarted the Bentley offense.

The Falcons stretched their lead to 6-0 before the half, engineered through two goals apiece from leading scorer senior Brendan Grant and senior J.D. Ayer. Sophomore Mike Carter also added to the delight of Bentley fans, notching his first goal of the season.

Worse still for Pace, their offense lacked any bite in the first half, as turnovers and penalties ensured that the few possessions they did have in Bentley’s zone went to waste.

However, the Setters did seem to settle in the second half, at least for a period of time. Pace senior John Kolesar put his team on the board shortly through the third quarter, though the comeback was short-lived.

Bentley sophomore Nick Astarita stretched the lead to six only minutes after Kolesar had cut it to five, and Grant promptly tallied his third making it an 8-1 Falcons lead.

The fourth quarter saw both teams score once (for Bentley it was the rampaging Grant netting his game-high fourth of the day) in what was otherwise an anticlimactic final period, ending with a 9-2 Bentley win.

Coach Murphy seemed upbeat at the end, acknowledging his hopes that the slow start to the year is now firmly behind his team after such a convincing win.

“We almost felt like we’ve beaten ourselves in the first two games, because of mental and physical mistakes” said Murphy. “So we’ve been really approaching the smaller things from the mental and physical standpoint of getting back to the things that we know we can do.”

Mass College Lax: Checking In On The Men’s NCAA Poll

The Minutemen are currently sporting a 6-0 record, as well as reside in the third spot in the NCAA Div.I men's lacrosse poll, too! (Photo Credit: University of Massachusetts)

By NoontimeSports.com

The winter sports season is still in full swing, and while we anxiously await the winners of various basketball and hockey tournaments, we’ve decided to jump ahead to the spring, and provide an updated view of the men’s Div. I, II, and III lacrosse rankings via the NCAA.

Div. I

No. 3/Massachusetts – The Minutemen recently leaped from fifth to third spot in this week’s poll, and are currently sporting a 6-0 record.

Harvard – The Crimson began the season ranked, but have recently fallen out of the Top-20. As of Wednesday, Mar. 14, they’re one of 11 teams “receiving votes.”

Div. II:

No. 5/ Merrimack College – The Warriors have kicked-off their season with two consecutive wins against Dominican (N.Y.) and Limestone  (Baltimore, Md.), and are currently 1-0 on the road, and 1-0 on neutral grass.

Div. III

 No. 2/ Tufts University – The Jumbos are off to a quick 2-0 start, thanks to wins against Conn. College and Hamilton College. Tufts will begin a two-game road trip on Saturday, Mar. 17 when they travel to Stevens College in Pennsylvania.

No. 7/ Amherst College – The men sporting the purple and white are off to a 2-0 start, too. They’ll travel to Beverley, Massachusetts on Wednesday, Mar. 14 for a critical matchup against Endicott College. Amherst’s two wins this season have come against Bates College and Colby College.

No. 14/ Endicott College – The Gulls recently fell to the Ducks of Stevens College, but did manage to earn one win this season against Eastern Conn. State. Endicott is sporting a 1-2 record, and can pick up some steam in the polls with a win at home against Amherst.

No. 19/ Springfield College – Despite starting the year with back-to-back victories, Springfield stumbled during their last match against Stevens. However, they’ll look to rebound on Wednesday, Mar. 14 when they face-off against Middlebury College.

Receiving Votes – Babson College 

Sunday Column: The Cult of Lacrosse

NoontimeSports.com will now feature every Sunday a weekly column that gives fans an inside look into the sports world through opinions and investigative reporting. We begin our first of many “Sunday Column’s” with a look at the sport of lacrosse, as well as the fans that are avid supporters of the game.

By Dan Rubin

On a crisp Saturday afternoon in Providence, Rhode Island, the Brown Bears took to the field against a nationally ranked Penn Quaker team with hopes of keeping their chances alive in order to compete for the Ivy League’s automatic bid.

The stands were utterly packed at Stevenson Field with crowds arriving almost two hours before the game’s start. Penn fans traveled from Philadelphia in droves, parking an RV in the stands and starting a tailgate replete with Penn lawn chairs, a Penn Quaker flag, as well as music loud enough to be heard across the field and atop the press box where I sat watching this.

If I didn’t give you the month (or, for that matter, the name of the field), the above story would sound exactly the way the average Saturday during college football season unfolds not only at Brown, but at a number of different stadia across the US.

Instead, though, it was during April, and it was for a sport that much of America hears about, but few know about. It’s about a sport that is treated like a religion within its grounds but sometimes mocked by outsiders. It has attained an almost cult-like following, as parents, friends, fans, and athletes travel hundreds of miles to watch their team. Yet, it barely has a professional league and most casual sports fans have no idea where teams play or what cities are represented.

It is the world of lacrosse.

I spent the past weekend working both men’s and women’s games for Brown, (three games in three days).  And I’ve been involved with lacrosse as a sport since I was a 14-year old freshman in high school.  But, having never played the sport itself, I’ve always taken a unique perspective of a fan that didn’t really understand its appeal. I never understood what it meant to put on the helmet, put on the eye black, and to have my parents rabidly cheering me from the stands. I never really got it, until I stood in that tailgate, next to that RV, and asked the questions.

From what I found, lacrosse has an appeal that no other sport can identify with. It’s a sport driven by passion and intensity. It traces its roots to the Iroquois tribe of Native Americans. The on-field product requires speed, athleticism, and intensity.  Even substitutions of players are on the fly during game, requiring players to go full speed to the sideline while teammates charge into the play with the same velocity.

But that passion is fueled by a love of the game, a feeling that “it’s our sport,” as one parent explained at the pre-game tailgate.  Baseball, they said, had gotten too big, too overblown.  Everybody in baseball is worried about the big payday, but they’re not willing to put their bodies on the line. The stereotype of a baseball player is to conserve energy for a long season, with strict inning and pitch counts, so as to keep players in peak condition for a playoff run. Pitchers, they say, are on a pitch count so their arms stay healthy, otherwise they’re no good to a team. In the image category, baseball is much more rigid and monitored.

Lacrosse requires peak physical condition before the season starts, they say. It takes offseason conditioning, weight training, and everything that other sports utilize. But with a season only 16-20 games long, it requires a player to be ready to go every step of the way.  An uninjured player is one that can fight through sore muscles and pulled ligaments.  Injuries, they say, are serious, and they’re taken seriously.  But there’s a football-fine line between being injured and being hurt. Lacrosse players, they proudly say, admit they’re injured long before they’re hurt.

But there’s more. Lacrosse fans point to their lack of a well-known professional league as proof of passion. Players go out and sacrifice their bodies, putting it all on the line every week when they don’t have to. Major League Lacrosse is relatively unknown outside of its ranks, and the National Lacrosse League barely receives any coverage.

One fan from Boston even pointed out that a prominent local newspaper can spend five pages talking about a two-inning minor league rehab stint by a relief pitcher, but they rarely spend five paragraphs talking about the Cannons and Blazers, (I was very proud to tell him about Noontime Sports’ coverage of the Blazers, by the way).

To them, the niche of lacrosse gives them a feeling of ownership over their sport.  It’s the only sport where its world championships feature a full-blown Native American tribe competing outside the United States’ national team (the Iroquois Nationals are, indeed, one of the best in the world).  Because it’s on the national radar but ranks below everything, including soccer at times, games retain the feeling of family reunions.  The same fans show up, and the parents feel a kinship among themselves.  Players from teams have a genuine dislike for one another, but they have a fervent respect for the game.  They love the feeling of crushing one another, the parents say, but at the end they both respect what the other side is trying to accomplish.

Lacrosse fans tend to not care what outsiders say about the sport, even if what is said a.) has validity and b.) is a major black eye for the sport.  No matter what anybody says about other sports, kids can go outside, pick up a rock and a stick, and play a form of baseball.  Kids from inner cities across America play basketball.  Even kids from rural areas have the ability to go out and tackle one another to unleash football’s aggression.

Outsiders look at lacrosse and say, (ignorantly at times) that it’s a rich, white-kid sport.  Indeed, the names on rosters sometimes read like a law firm’s recruiting list of partners instead.  The parents are, for the most part, wearing slacks and shoes to the game, and the perfectly manicured skin of the mothers makes outsiders turn their nose.  They point to the game and say that it requires money for equipment, requires money for travel, and the best teams are wealthy.  And they’d be right by saying the best schools are not public schools.  Where football has Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma, lacrosse has Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Syracuse, and every school that’s in the Ivy League.  And the fans of these teams usually have the money to travel across the country, following their teams and rooting them on throughout the year.

To a casual fan, that’s the number one reason why lacrosse is never on the radar.  It’s a blue-collar vs. white-collar attitude – almost like town-gown relations in some areas.  The Duke lacrosse scandal galvanized the sport as being a bunch of rich, preppy kids who thought that “Daddy’s money” could save them.  Even though those players were innocent, people still say that it didn’t matter because the lacrosse players came from money and wealth, while the rest of us scraped by.

The scandal is five years old this year.  It’s long forgotten in pop culture, but the name “lacrosse” still brings that perception to the forefront.  When Duke won the men’s national title last year, the first question of the postgame interview started with the phrase, “It’s been a long time coming for this program…”  Everybody knew what that meant, even if 90% of the team wasn’t even at Duke during that time.  The name “lacrosse” evoked the images of a scandal gone wrong, and it still evoked a stereotype of a sport that may never shed it.

But to those at the game, they couldn’t care less.  They don’t care what people say about it.  They care only about the speed of the game, the passion of the players, the next road trip where they can park an SUV.  They look at their chance to pack another stadium, root for their team, and hope for a chance at a national title.  On Sunday, Brown’s women’s lacrosse team hosted the #3-ranked Duke Blue Devils (ironically enough).  Duke packed half the stands with a sea of blue to root on their team.  Brown packed a sea of white and brown.  The barely-.500 Bears took a one-goal lead against Duke before the Devils rallied to force overtime.  In OT, the back-and-forth seesaw battle saw the Devils win in the sudden-death 3rd extra frame.  As the girls from Brown walked off the field, both teams’ fans stood and applauded what they saw in a show of mutual respect and admiration.  Duke’s head coach shook her head and smiled at Brown’s head coach as they embraced in the middle of the field.

As the sun slowly dipped and the nighttime sky began to appear, people packed up their cars, and the lights went out on Stevenson.  There were plans to make for next week.