Photo courtesy of Austin Drucker ‘17
The Lafayette men’s lacrosse team’s season opener against Stony Brook did not flip last season’s disappointing script; rather, it resembled past struggles.
The Leopards (0-1) were defeated convincingly 18-10 and were outscored 10-2 in the middle two quarters. Long runs by Stony Brook forced Lafayette into out-of-sync play. Head coach Jim Rogalski acknowledged that the offense and defense were unable to develop chemistry and thus, when one played well, the other struggled.
“Early on in the second quarter we couldn’t make any stops,” Rogalski said. “And then we started getting those stops but turned it over on offense. We need to focus more on playing the team game.”
The loss highlighted a glaring flaw: face-offs. Lafayette won just eight of its 31 attempts. Rogalski credited these numbers as an area that must be addressed forward if Lafayette is to win.
And to no surprise, the long runs were set up by early turnovers. Rogalski noted in the preseason that turnovers were a major issue last season. The Leopards turned it over 14 times, four more than the limit of ten set for each game.
“It’s going to be a constant theme throughout the season,” Rogalski said. “We’ve improved from last season but I’m not accepting where we are, and neither are the guys.”
Amidst the disappointing start to the season was the outstanding play of junior attack man Brian Bock. Bock netted a hat trick and firmly established his role as the centerpiece of a potentially explosive offense.
“What we are trying to do offensively is get him in situations where he can get his hands free,” Rogalski said. “He got some short stick matchups and took advantage of that. Our goal is to get the ball in his hands as much as possible.”
Lafayette now sets its sights on its first Patriot League game tomorrow against Colgate. Senior defensemen Matt Evans ‘14 will draw the tough challenge of guarding Colgate’s standout attackman, Ryan Walsh ‘15.
“He’s one of their main guys, we’re going to have to contain him,” Rogalski said. “If we can control him we’re going to have a good chance of getting the ball back for our offense.”
Colgate (2-0) received 21 votes to be ranked in the Top 20 of the NCAA Coaches Poll this week. Start time is set for noon tomorrow.