Men’s lacrosse battles through NESCAC games; trumps Wes.
The Colby men's lacrosse team split its two New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) games this past week. In the midweek game, the Mules traveled down to Brunswick to face the Polar Bears. Colby let another lead slip away and lost 11-10 after Bowdoin outscored the Mules 4-1 in the fourth quarter. The Saturday game had a different outcome, with the Mules winning a low scoring affair, 6-4, over Wesleyan University. This was the first game the Mules have played against a fellow NESCAC team that has been decided by more than one goal.
Craig Bunker '11 and Derrik Flahive '13 were the stars this past week. Bunker continued his dominance in face offs, winning 28 of 38 over the past two games, ranking him as the best face-off man in Division III. Coach John Thompson had a few words of praise for the talented Bunker. "Craig Bunker has been absolutely spectacular. He is simply dominating his opponent. The only explanation is that Craig simply has a greater will to win than his opponent. Quite frankly, failure seems not to be an option for Craig. He prepares the hardest, works the hardest and competes at such a fierce level that his opponent simply can't keep up." Bunker is also averaging over 8.5 groundballs per game for the Mules. Flahive had his best offensive week in his short career as a Mule. He scored six goals including two to seal the victory against the Cardinals late in the fourth quarter.
Wesleyan scored first in Saturday's home game on Bill Alfond Field. The home crowd was disappointed, but that's what happens when you face the defending NESCAC champions. However, Colby stormed right back with consistent Mark Squicciarino scoring off an assist from Scott Margolis '12. Colby took the lead in the second quarter with freshman sensation Ian Deveau tallying a goal early. Flahive extended Colby's lead with another goal. Colby let up just before halftime and let in a goal with just under two seconds to play.
Squicciarino opened the second half with a goal, putting the Mules up by two. Wesleyan slowly but surely battled back, tightening up their defense and taking advantage of their opportunities. With less than nine minutes to go in the game, the Cardinals had tied up the game 4-4. Then, Flahive scored his two clutch goals to clinch the game for the Mules. The midweek game against Bowdoin highlighted a problem the Mules had had the past few weeks. The men would come out of the gates strong, but let other teams finish strong, losing several games in the fourth quarter. Colby seems to have remedied the problem against Wesleyan, staving off a comeback and outscoring its opponent in the fourth quarter, but Tuesday was another heartbreaker for the Mules.
Flahive scored three times, and Greg McKillop '13 and Patrick Briody '10 both notched two goals for the Mules in the loss. Deveau led the Mules with three assists, and Whit McCarthy '10 had a goal and an assist.
Thompson was pleased with his team's effort recently. "There is no doubt in my mind that we are better today than we were last week. This was an incredibly difficult stretch for our team. I am proud of the effort from our men and proud that students like Derrik Flahive, Mark Squicciarino and James Brady have responded to the challenges in the positive way that they have." However, Thompson believed in the weeks ahead that there were plenty of things on which the laxers could work. "We are playing the best lacrosse that we have played all year. But that, as you know, is not enough. Our goal is to be better tomorrow than we are today. If we are to attain that goal, our mental focus, physical effort and emotional preparation must be stronger tomorrow than it is today." The Mules will have to prepare quickly, as they have another midweek game on Wednesday. The Mules will travel to non-conference opponent Southern Maine Wednesday, April 14 and wrap up the weekend with a trip down to Amherst College to face the Lord Jeffs.