Written by Coby Dodelson
Colorado College men’s lacrosse (10-5) finished off the regular season last Saturday when they travelled to Whittier, Calif. to face Whittier College (8-6). The Poets are a familiar foe for CC, and the Tigers have come out on top in the past 11 matchups dating back to 2007. Unfortunately, this streak came to an end on Saturday when CC fell 12-17 in a game that could prove to be detrimental for the team’s playoff hopes.
The Poets looked determined early on in the game as they jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the first quarter. Whittier senior midfielder Nick Hernandez scored three of these first quarter goals for the Poets, and he tacked on two more goals in the second quarter. CC looked out of sorts for the majority of the first half, but they were able to keep themselves in the game by scoring four straight goals just before halftime. This scoring burst by the Tigers narrowed the score to 6-9 in favor of Whittier heading into the second half of play.
CC tied the game 10-10 early in the third quarter thanks to three goals from junior attacker Robbie Stern. Whittier responded with a run of their own, as they scored seven unanswered goals. The Tigers were unable to come back from this and ultimately lost the game 12-17.
The primary cause of this loss was the lack of consistency shown by the Tigers throughout the game. There were stretches in the second and third quarters when CC put together scoring runs, but this focus was not shown for all 60 minutes of the game. After the game, Head Coach Sean Woods commented on his team’s performance. “Overall, we lacked enthusiasm,” he said. “Whittier was more excited to play than us. We didn’t match their urgency early, which led to a 2-8 deficit. We were lacking execution and shot selection on offense. We were lacking communication on defense, which led to late slides/double teams.”
Many CC players were also disappointed with themselves following Saturday’s game. First-year midfielder Alden Landry thought the squad was “inconsistent and careless with the ball,” and that they simply did not respect Whittier enough going into the game. First-year goaltender Andrew Harwood added that the Tigers’ “goalie play was lacking.”
Even with Saturday’s disappointment, CC men’s lacrosse has put together a strong season. This team posted a 10-5 record which included impressive wins such as defeating Williams College for the first time in school history. The question now is whether or not these accomplishments will be enough to warrant a selection to compete in the 2017 NCAA DIII men’s lacrosse championship. They will have to wait until the bracket is unveiled on May 7 to find out, which gives them time to address some of their weaknesses that were exposed on Saturday.
The Tigers have shown throughout this season that they are capable of beating anyone, but they must be more disciplined than they were against Whittier if they want to make a run in the tournament. Woods believes whole-heartedly in his team’s abilities, and he thinks they can be successful in the tournament if they have the right mindset. “If we are selected, we will need to be ready to play from the opening whistle on,” he said. “We will need to be more excited than our opponent. If we are excited and play with urgency, we are a great team.”