Men’s lax close to clinching playoff spot

Andrew Calnon April 24, 2013 0

he Elizabethtown College men’s lacrosse team seems to have hit a rough patch in their schedule as they have lost three straight games, including their loss on Saturday, April 20 to the number two seed, the Albright College Lions. The Jays have only won one game in the month of April, and are struggling to get back into the fifth and final playoff spot for the MAC Commonwealth Conference as they currently sit in the number six spot.

The Blue Jays found themselves behind early on as Albright took a 3-0 lead a little over five minutes into the game. The Jays found themselves on the board soon after as first-year Dillon O’Dell scored in the first quarter at 4:53, and senior captain Cory Boushell sent one into the net at 1:49 in the second quarter on the man-up advantage, shortening Albright’s lead to 3-2.

The scoring continued in the final two minutes of the first half as Etown and Albright combined for a total of four goals. Darian Meador scored unassisted for the Lions, which put Albright ahead 4-2 with 1:15 to go in the half, but soon after the Blue Jays answered with two goals with only 10 seconds left. They came from first-year Jimmy Waters, who scored a man-up goal from O’Dell with nine seconds left in the half to bring the Blue Jays within one. Soon after, junior Craig Hunsberger won a face-off and ran down the field to beat Albright goalie Jordan DiZenzo with a quick shot just before the buzzer sounded. The score was tied 4-4 at halftime, and looked as if it was going to be a fight to the finish.

At the end of the third quarter the Lions had scored five more goals, while the Blue Jays added one to the board. Goals came from Albright’s TJ Holston, Mike Southwick and Phil Potter as well as from Etown’s first-year Tucker Keefer, putting the score at 9-5 at the end of the third. The final quarter brought two hat tricks, one for the Lion’s Holston who scored at 6:32 in the fourth, and also for the Blue Jays’ Hunsberger who scored two goals in the final 5:47. Also, Keefer scored his second of the afternoon in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough for the Jays as the game resulted in an 11-8 win for the Albright Lions.

Even after a tough loss to Albright, Head Coach Terrance Corcoran said, “We are continuing to practice hard and trying to eliminate some of the fundamental mistakes that have been leading to turnovers.” Senior Nick Thompson said, “Our biggest challenge this year is that we haven’t been able to put together a complete game. We always put forth a lot of effort, but tend to make mental errors that result in unforced turnovers.”

“Overall I feel like this season has gone well and is definitely an improvement from last year. There are a few games such as Union and Messiah that I feel like we should have won and we lost as a result of not playing a complete game. We didn’t make the playoffs last year. Right now we are focused on making the playoffs, and as long as we do that and have an opportunity to win the MACs, we will be happy with our season overall,” Thompson said.

Senior Cory Boushell agreed: “With every game we play, I expect to win. We have the talent to beat any team in our league so I expect to win every game.”

On Tuesday, April 23, Etown took on the Alvernia University Crusaders in their last home game of the regular season. The Blue Jays took a commanding 15-9 win over the Crusaders. Three different players picked up hat tricks — Hunsberger, Keefer and Waters. With a close 6-4 score at halftime, it appeared as if the Crusaders had a chance of staying in the game. However, a five-goal third quarter put the Blue Jays up 11-6. Defensively, Thompson collected nine ground balls and four caused turnovers. He received help from senior defender Kyle Lord who registered six ground balls and two turnovers. Wenger had 12 saves in the victory.

The Blue Jays will conclude their regular season play Saturday, April 27 at Lebanon Valley College. This game is extremely important for Etown, as a win will give the Blue Jays the final spot in the Commonwealth Conference playoffs beginning next week.

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