Men's Lacrosse Battles Army to Protect Strong Record
SUPERB SMITH. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith destroyed the Baylor defense last Saturday, and is looking to sustain his dominant play against a difficult Texas squad.
The Raiders were led once again by junior Peter Baum and first-year Ryan Walsh. Baum earned six points, all of which came from goals, while Walsh recorded five points from three goals and a pair of assists. Baum came alive in crunch time for the Raiders, scoring five of Colgate's six goals in the fourth quarter. Baum was also incredibly efficient, scoring six goals in only seven shots. He continues to lead the nation in goals and points with 42 goals on the season and 55 points thus far, and is on pace to have one of the best seasons in Colgate history. His 42-goal tally is already good enough for fifth most in a season on the record books, and his 55 points recorded is the ninth most scored by a Raider in a single season with four games left in the regular season. Following Baum and Walsh, the Raiders really displayed a team effort with ten other players recording a point, six of whom were goalscorers.
The game started as it typically has for the Raiders, as junior Robert Grabher won the face-off and was able to find senior long-stick midfielder Kevin Gordon for the goal just 10 seconds into the game. Army then got on the board just over a minute later as they were able to prevent Colgate from clearing the ball. The failed clear allowed Army to scoop up the groundball and find the back of the net to even the game. The failed clear attempt was Colgate's only of the game, as the rest of their clears were perfect until the final whistle. The Black Knights pulled ahead 2-1 and earned their first lead of the game a few minutes later as junior midfielder Andrew Boyd tallied his second goal of the game.
The lead lasted less than a minute as Walsh tallied his first goal of the game, the start of a three-goal run by the Raiders to close the first quarter. By the end of the first, Colgate was doubling up Army, 4-2.
Army scored the first goal of the second quarter a few minutes into the period to cut the deficit to one. However, Colgate responded back with a pair of tallies of their own. Baum tallied the first, and junior midfielder Ryan Collins got his first goal of the season when he slung a groundball into the back of the net. Army was then able to get its offense going as it went on a four-goal streak in the final four minutes of the period to earn the lead at halftime, 7-6.
"All teams have their tendencies and we game plan accordingly, but usually all Patriot League games turn into dogfights and toughness battles," senior goalie Jared Madison said. "This game against Army turned out to be a game of runs and we were able to step up and answer each time they came within reach of our lead in the second half."
Following the half-time break, Colgate took momentum back, scoring the first three goals of the period to regain the lead at 9-7, but the Black Knights were able to get a late goal to cut the lead to one heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter proved to be the most exciting as the teams combined for 11 goals. Army was also able to tie the game at 9-9 with over 12 minutes left in the game. Five minutes passed without either team finding a goal, but Colgate was able to make the first breakthrough with just over seven minutes left. Baum tallied the first of his five goals in the quarter to give the lead back to Colgate at 10-9. The Raiders buried the next two goals of the period to increase their lead to 12-9 with 5:13 left in the game.
The excitement of the game really picked up as four goals were scored over the next 45 seconds. Army tallied three of them and Colgate had one. With about four and a half minutes left in the game, Colgate found themselves holding on to the lead at 13-12. Baum stepped up his game in the waning minutes of the contest to close out the Black Knights. He tallied two goals to increase the Raider lead to 15-12. Army was able to get a last-second goal, but it wasn't enough as the Raiders came away victorious, 15-13, in a hard-fought win.
"During my career, Army has had some of the best offensive players in the country, Jeremy Boltus and Garrett Thul," Madison said. "Boltus graduated last year but Thul is a great athlete and phenomenal shooter. We as a defense had to constantly be aware of where he was on the field. Matt Yeager did an outstanding job shutting him down."
Madison had eight saves in net for the Raiders. Grabher and Gordon led the way for the Raiders, scooping up eight and five groundballs, respectively.
"It came down to heart and how hard we were going to push ourselves and each other during the second half," Maidson said. "We knew we had to leave everything out on the field and we were able to do that."
The Raiders have a big game this weekend, as they take on No. 7 Lehigh in a critical Patriot League matchup that has national implications, as well. Lehigh is enjoying one of their best seasons in program history, as they are 10-1 and 3-0 in the Patriot League.
"I think this game will come down to our defense versus their offense," Madison said. "We know what our offense is capable of, but we will need our best defensive effort to date for this game."
The game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at Andy Kerr Stadium.
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