Hoping to keep a four-game win streak intact, men’s lacrosse entered its Wednesday, April 10 matchup at Eastern Connecticut ready to secure victory number nine of the season. The Cards would have to wait until Thursday to cash in their victory as inclement weather turned the 13-9 victory into a two-part saga.
On Wednesday, the Cardinals began a well-contested battle against their foes from Eastern. After allowing three consecutive Eastern Conn goals in the second quarter to fall behind 4-3, the Cardinals managed to even the score with under three and a half minutes to play with junior Graham Macnab’s 15th goal of the year and second of the day. Then, with just seconds remaining on the clock at the end of the half, Brendan Hanley ’13 released a long-range missile at the opposing net to surprise Eastern Conn and take the lead for good.
Benefiting from a slew of penalties against Eastern Conn, Wesleyan continued the onslaught into the third quarter, scoring nine straight goals to bury its opponents. The Wesleyan attack took the opportunity to bust the game wide open in the opening minutes of the third quarter with three power play goals—the result of two Eastern penalties late in the second quarter.
With Wes up 8-4 in the third, the skies opened up and put a damper on the match, but when play resumed the following day, the Cardinals showed the same composure and managed to push their winning streak to a season-high five games. Leading scorer Remy Lieberman ’14 picked up his 17th and 18th goals on the season, and the hero of the Cardinals’ matchup against Colby, Quentin DellaFera ’15, continued his impressive record with a career-high five points coming from four goals and an assist.
Wesleyan’s next clash was a NESCAC road matchup against the Polar Bears of Bowdoin. With Wesleyan just above Bowdoin, holding down the number four spot in the conference, both teams came into the game trying to muscle their way up the standings. It was obvious how evenly matched the two sides were; the Saturday, April 13 match was Wesleyan’s lowest scoring affair of the season, with the majority of the goals scored coming in the second half.
After Bowdoin punched in its fifth goal with four minutes to play, the stage was set for another dramatic come-from-behind victory, which has been the Cardinals’ trademark this season. That moment could not have come at a better time; with just six seconds left, Aidan Daniell ’14 capitalized on a perfectly telegraphed long-range pass from Macnab to send the game into overtime. The storybook ending wasn’t quite right for the Cardinals this time, however, as Bowdoin drew first blood in sudden death overtime to deal the Cards a 6-5 loss.
With most of the season behind them, the Cards have an impressive body of work in their 9-3 record, including 4-3 in NESCAC play. With upcoming matchups against conference leaders such as Tufts and Bowdoin, the Redbirds will need to harness that grit and determination that make them consistently tough to play for a full 60 minutes.
“We have won a couple of games after falling behind and have lost all three games by a total of four goals,” Jon Guzman ’13 pointed out. “It is important for our team to finish the season strong against the next three opponents in order to secure a home playoff game, as well as roll into the playoffs with some positive momentum. I am confident that this team has the potential to compete for and win a NESCAC championship.”
The Cardinals play their last two regular season home games against Trinity on Tuesday, April 16 and Tufts on Saturday, April 20.