Men's Lacrosse Takes Down Seventh Ranked Connecticut
The Colby men's lacrosse team had two impressive wins this past week on Bill Alfond Field. Colby won the midweek game handily against the Mariners of Maine Maritime Academy and came back from several deficits to pull out the upset against the sixth ranked Camels of Connecticut College. The two victories improve the Mules' record to 9-5 overall and moves them to 4-4 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). This week's final regular season game at Bates on Friday is a big one for the Mules. A win would put their record at over .500 in the NESCAC.
Saturday's victory over the nationally ranked and then-undefeated Camels was a culmination of the hard work and training that Coach John Thompson has been preaching all year. Thompson took over as head coach last year and has turned the program around. After another losing season in 2008, Thompson came to the helm and has guided the Mules to NESCAC playoffs since 2002. Even the local news has taken notice, as WABI-TV from Bangor did a feature about the Mules' recent success. Thompson credits the players, especially the upperclassmen leadership, for the turnaround, but his contribution is still evident.
Saturday's game started with a man up goal by captain Whit McCarthy '10 in the second minute. It was the beginning of a high powered day from McCarthy, who finished with a game-high of six goals. 'Whit McCarthy shot the ball extremely well versus Connecticut. He scored on 50 percent of the shots he took, which is something that not many can claim,' Thomson said. Connecticut responded a few minutes later with a goal of their own. Then Colby's defense clamped down, not allowing a goal for over 15 minutes. In that time, McCarthy and the Mules poured on the goals, taking a 4-1 lead into the second quarter. However, the Camels finished up the first half with a four goal streak, and took a 5-4 lead into halftime.
The Mules came out strong in the second half, doubling their goal output in the final 30 minutes. The Mules retook the lead, 6-5, following goals by first-year Ian Deveau and Jon McIvor '12. The Camels responded 15 seconds after McIvor's goal, tying the game, but Derrik Flahive '13 gave Colby its fourth lead of the night, just before the third quarter ended.
The fourth quarter opened up like the third, with the Camels scoring twice and taking the 8-7 lead. However, Colby got on a long hot streak, smoking the Camels five times in five minutes to take a commanding 12-8 lead with just under two minutes to go. Besides McCarthy, who scored three of the five goals in the streak, Mark Squicciarino '11 and even defenseman Chris Healy '11 got in on the action. Aiding this rally was the nation's top faceoff man, Craig Bunker '11. He won face offs when they needed him to, taking pressure off the defense. After Healy's goal, Bunker took the faceoff at midfield. He won it and gave a quick outlet pass to McCarthy, whose shot bounced off of a Camel's toe and into the net for the Mules' second goal in less than 15 seconds. The Camels scored a last second goal by the quick hands of Tom Gianakos '10, but to no avail. Gianakos had a solid game in net, and stepped up big in the second half, making eight of his 12 saves in the second half. Thompson stressed James Brady '10 and Healy's contributions to the defense, 'something that does not show up in the box score.' The last second goal brought the final score to 12-9, a convincing win for Colby, stunning the nationally ranked Camels.
Seniors Stew Brown, Austin Lee, Tommy Gianakos, captain James Brady, Russell Clark, captain Max Weiss, McCarthy and Patrick Briody will all be playing their last games in a Colby uniform. Each has brought a lot to the team over the years, both on and off the field. Thompson had plenty to say about each of the soon to be graduates. For Brown, who had one of the best shot-on-goal percentages on the team, Thompson said that he 'has emerged as one of our top middies in 2009 and 2010.'
Lee was 'quite possibly our most improved player during the course of the 2010 season ... and the charisma and attitude that he brings to the field has him recognized as one of the most beloved senior Mules,' Thompson said. Gianakos is currently ranked fourth in the NESCAC in saves per game and has an impressive .587 save percentage. Thompson believes that Gianakos 'has worked tirelessly at his craft, directing our clear and defense.'
Thompson described Brady as relentless and a quintessential leader. 'He competes at such a terrific level, that his teammates can't help but follow him,' Thompson said. Brady is second on the team in groundballs, and has a perfect shot on goal percentage, taking advantage of his opportunities. Clark 'has developed into an offensive threat for the Mules in 2009' and 'his focus on cohesiveness has left a lasting impact on the development of the Colby lacrosse family,' Thompson said. Weiss is 'the inspirational leader of the Mules' and 'is one of our best defensive midfielders - and has been assigned some of the nation's best middies in 2010.'
Further, speaking to his character, Thompson wanted to highlight Weiss's contributions off the field, including 'his pivotal role in the more than $26,000 that the Colby men's lacrosse team has raised for charity over the last two seasons.' McCarthy's offensive talent goes without saying. However, his rearing of the young guns on the team must be emphasized. McCarthy is still adding to his 112 goals and 31 assists thus far at Colby, ranking him among the offensive legends who have donned a Colby uniform.
Briody has started all of the games this season for the Mules, a stat that only two other teammates share with him. Briody has 'helped anchor and lead a cerebral offense' and had the top goal of the season for the Mules in their overtime victory at Trinity. The seniors will be sorely missed next year. There is more lacrosse to be played, however. Thompson understands this and recognizes that the victory over the Camels was big, but, 'the only game more important than the Conn. game? The Bates game. Onward and upward.'