The men’s club lacrosse team stepped out onto the turf for their last regular season game under the lights this past weekend.
Supported by a large home crowd, the Lions took control of the game against Rutgers University-New Brunswick early and the Scarlet Knights could only hope to keep up until the final 9-4 Lions win.
The win was no surprise for the team though. “We went into the game in front of the home field crowd and knew what we had to do and got it done,” Chris Haggerty junior midfielder said. The Lions immediately took control of the first face off, and Haggerty remained true to his word,
netting his first of four goals for the College less than a minute into the game, with an assist by freshman attacker Owen Smith.
The Scarlet Knights briefly tied it up by scoring their first point minutes later, but the Lions quickly answered back with a goal by Smith at 13:33. Haggerty followed this with two more within the last five minutes of the first quarter, both assisted by Smith. Rutgers pushed the score up to 4-2 with one more goal before the quarter ended.
Throughout the entire second and third quarters the Lions held the Scarlet Knights scoreless. Smith found the back of the net twice more in the second quarter, with one assist by senior attack Jeff Martorana.
Haggerty then drilled in his final goal of the game and the first goal of the second half at 19:40 in the third quarter, with another assist by Martorana.
Although the Scarlet Knights managed to record two more points in the final quarter of the game, the Lions didn’t let them go unanswered. Senior midfielder Mike McCleaster put himself on the scoreboard with two unassisted goals at 9:20 and 2:55, bringing the final score to a decisive 9-4.
Sophomore goalie Andy Llerena held firm control of the Lions’ net during the game, despite a saveless first quarter. He bounced right back, making a total of eight saves during the Scarlet Knight’s scoreless middle quarters. In the final quarter, Llerena made sure to keep it even, equaling Rutger’s two points with two saves.
However, he was not without help during the match. “This was probably the best team effort I’ve seen from us,” Llerena said. “Our defense and offense was strong which took a lot of pressure off of me. The support from the crowd really kept us going too, especially in the fourth quarter.”
“Even though it was our first game since Spring Break, the team pulled together to beat a tough division rival,” McCleaster said. “This has put us at 5-0 for the season as we look forward to competing in the playoffs,” he added.
The Lions will continue to play hard in the upcoming month, with an away match April 10 against Princeton University, followed by potential playoff matches to be scheduled starting April 17.