HAMILTON, N.Y. (2/25/12) – The No. 19/20 Colgate men’s lacrosse team dropped its first game of the 2012 season when it fell to Dartmouth 9-6 on Saturday afternoon at Tyler’s Field.
Despite outshooting Dartmouth 40-27 in the game,the Raiders were unable to secure the win. Senior co-captain Jeff Ledwick and junior Peter Baum had three points each from two goals and one assist apiece while freshman Ryan Walsh added two points from a goal and an assist and senior Chris Zielinski tallied his first goal of the season.
Defensively the team also had some strong performers. Junior Robert Grabher had a strong showing at the X, winning 10 of his 17 faceoffs and collecting eight groundballs, while senior co-captain Kevin Gordon recorded four groundballs and three caused turnovers and sophomore Bobby Lawrence registered three groundballs and four caused turnovers.
As the snow fell on Tyler’s field on Saturday afternoon, both teams came out as focused as ever as they prepared to face tough weather conditions and adjust their mindsets to the new start time (1:30 p.m.). Dartmouth was able to warm up and find its offensive rhythm the quickest, winning the first groundball and taking the first shot on goal. The early momentum then led to the Big Green netting the opening goal at the 11:43 mark to take a 1-0 lead. Colgate responded just over two minutes later with a tally from Walsh to tie the game at 1-1 with 9:31 left in the opening 15 minutes of play. Both teams continued to battle it out in the slippery conditions, forcing each other to make turnovers and collect challenging groundballs. This time around however, it was the Raiders that were able to find their balance and score a late man-up goal with 18 seconds left in the period to take a 2-1 lead. Walsh passed the ball from behind the goal up to Baum, who then fired it into the back of the net. This would prove to be their only lead of the game.
Colgate came out to an aggressive start in the second frame, outshooting the Big Green 4-1 in the first four minutes. However, a cross-checking penalty on the Raiders allowed Dartmouth to capitalize on an extra-man opportunity and tie the game at 2-2 at the 10:38 mark. Two minutes and thirty five seconds later, the Big Green found its third goal to reclaim its early lead, 3-2. This was the beginning of a pattern that would last almost the entire game. At the 1:49 mark, Colgate tied it up on a man-up opportunity. Ledwick picked up a pass from Baum and shot it past the goalie to put the score at 3-3 going into half time. The Raiders had a 12-6 shooting advantage in the second frame.
After a short break and some encouraging words from their coaches, both teams came out looking to score as they put pressure on each other’s net and forced the goalies to make some strong saves. The weather conditions had degraded during the intermission, reducing the visibility on the field for the players, however, this did not faze either team as they fought for the first goal of the period. After a quiet first seven minutes, Dartmouth was able to ignite its offense and take the lead once again at the 7:57 mark, 4-3. But like clockwork, Colgate was able to even up the score again courtesy of a strong move and shot by Ledwick, who scored its fourth goal with 5:31 left in the period. A penalty on the Big Green after the whistle on Ledwick’s goal then gave the Raiders another extra-man opportunity, however, they could not find the back of the net. This gave Dartmouth a renewed confidence, which soon resulted in it claiming its fourth lead of the game with a tally at the 3:41 mark to put the score at 5-4. This lead was as short-lived as the ones before, with the Colgate finding an equalizer with a goal from Baum that was helped by Ledwick with just 58 seconds left to tie the game at 5-5 going into the final 15 minutes of play. The Raiders outshot Dartmouth 13-6 in the third frame.
The closing period was the most fruitful of the four, with a total of five goals being scored between the two teams. Still carrying the same pattern as the earlier periods, Dartmouth got on the scoreboard first with a goal at the 9:54 mark to take a 6-5 lead. Colgate then struck back at the 8:59 mark with a tally from Zielinski to tie the game for the sixth time at 6-6. However, it was not enough to topple the Big Green, which was able to reclaim its lead for the sixth time in the game and maintain it with a trio of goals at the 7:56, five-minute and 47-second marks to eventually secure the 9-6 win.
Senior goalie Jared Madison had six saves in the game while Dartmouth’s Fergus Campbell had 15 stops. Colgate scored on two of their four extra-man opportunities while holding Dartmouth to only one goal in its three opportunities.
The Raiders will return to action next weekend when they travel to Robert Morris on Saturday, Mar. 3 for their first road matchup of the season. The game is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. in Moon Township, Pa.