Men's lax opens league play with win over Navy

Reed Dempsey
Contributing Writer

Propelled by a seven-point performance by Billy Eisenreich ’12, the men’s lacrosse team recorded its first win of the season this past Saturday, beating Navy 14-9 in Annapolis, Md.

After struggling greatly with non-League teams during the first three games of the season, head coach Frank Fedorjaka stressed the importance of keeping his men on the field and limiting the Midshipmen’s transitional opportunities. 

“We wanted to keep it a six versus six kind of game with minimal transition,” Fedorjaka said. “We were able to do so and it resulted in a terrific team win.”

The Orange and Blue opened the day’s scoring when Peter Burke ’14 found Chase Bailey ’13 for his fourth goal of the season. After the Midshipmen tied the game at one, the Bison responded with an unassisted goal by Tom Black ’14. The teams traded two goals apiece over the remainder of the first quarter, with tallies by Nick Gantsoudes ’12 and Billy Mattimore ’13 for the Bison.

Clearing, which had been a weak point for the Bison in their first three games, vastly improved against Navy. The Orange and Blue went 19-22 in clear attempts, taking pressure of the defense and giving the offense more possessions.

At the end of the first quarter, the Orange and Blue jumped out to a one goal lead, but it took the Midshipmen just 14 seconds into the second quarter to retie the game. Then, over the next 15 minutes of play, the Orange and Blue held the Mids scoreless while Eisenreich, Bailey, Burke and David Dickson ’15 all found the back of the net, giving the Bison an 8-4 lead heading into the half.

After a long scoring drought, the Midshipmen came out flying in the third quarter, scoring three goals in 45 seconds to bring the game back within one. Throughout the game, Navy dominated the face-off, giving them the ability to repossess the ball after each goal and build up momentum.

“It puts a lot of pressure on our team because it is hard to stop their momentum if they are playing ‘make-it take-it’ lacrosse,” Eisenreich said. “Our team defense was good, which made it difficult for Navy to get into a flow.”

Four minutes into the second half, the Bison took advantage of a man-up opportunity when Eisenreich found Burke for his second of the day. The Orange and Blue then followed with three more goals over the next five minutes of play by Joe Kearney ’15, Bailey and Todd Heritage ’14, extending their lead to 12-7.

Over the next 14 minutes of play, the score remained stagnant. A non-releasable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Dickson opened the door for two Navy goals, but two minutes later, Eisenreich found a cutting Gantsoudes to go up 13-9. Over the final five minutes, the Bison defense stifled the Midshipmen, who tried desperately to maintain possession and get back on the board. Seven Navy penalties kept the Bison in control and gave Eisenreich the opportunity to extend his points total to seven on the day, the highest of his career against the Midshipmen.

The 14-9 win was the first step in turning the season around for the Bison. With nine different players scoring in the game, the Bison showed that they have a variety of players who can make an impact.

“Anytime you have every offensive player that stepped on the field score for you, you have to be excited. I don’t think I’ve ever had that but I hope it continues,” Fedorjaka said.

The Bison will look to win again when they face Hobart at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium this Saturday at 1 p.m. 

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