Bison men’s lacrosse excel in season opener

Justin Schaumberger, Sports Co-Editor

The Bison men’s lacrosse team raced out of the gates on their way to a 15-9 home win over Cleveland State to open their season. Tommy Sopko ’21 appeared unstoppable at times, as he led the Bison with nine points — enough to match the entire Cleveland State team. 

The Bison appeared poised and ready for the contest, despite it being the first time they’ve played since Feb. 29, 2020. The Orange and Blue started strong, building a 7-3 lead going into halftime. In the third quarter is where they really put the game out of reach, outsourcing the Vikings 6-2 in the quarter. This pushed their lead to 13-5 going into the fourth, which essentially put the game to bed. Sopko, the leading returning scorer for the Bison, finished the game with seven goals and two assists for a career high nine points. The senior attacker finished only two points and goals shy of the University’s all-time record. 

“Winning the first game of the season is huge, regardless of the opponent,”  Sopko said. “The difference between 1-0 and 0-1 may seem minimal, but the confidence that stems through a strong start is really meaningful as the season progresses.”

In addition to Sopko, preseason All-Patriot League midfielder Harry Wellford ’22 scored a hatrick while Alston Tarry ’22 chipped in three points via two goals and an assist. Two players netted their first ever goals for the Orange and Blue in the game as well. Brenden Lundy ’22 scored twice in his collegiate debate, while transfer Tanner Germain ’22 also scored a goal. 

Defensively, the Bison were extremely solid, causing 17 turnovers. Bryant Boswell ’21 forced four turnovers and collected four ground balls for the Bison. Travis Talarico ’22 managed to force three turnovers while also scooping up four ground balls. Midfielder Danny Striano ’23 and faceoff specialist Nick Crovatto ’22 made sure the Bison got most 50/50 balls by scooping up five ground balls each. In goal, Ben Clark ’21 started and made seven saves en route to earning the win. Meanwhile Daniel Parson ’23 was able to make his first collegiate save when he came on in relief of Clark late in the game. 

Despite the victory, the Bison are staying locked in and preparing for Sunday’s game against rival Lehigh. 

“This Sunday’s game versus Lehigh is the most important game we have played in over two years. Lehigh is our biggest rival, which already ups the stakes immediately,” Sopko said. “However, with the way the Patriot League tournament is being seeded in this Covid year, every league game has very serious implications. A win here would not only be amazing for our confidence, but it would put us in an excellent spot going forward with our league play.”

The game will take place on Sunday March 14 at noon at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. It will give the Bison a great change to see how they match up against one of the preseason favorites to win the league. 

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