The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Men’s lacrosse playoff hopes on the line after loss to Navy

The Leopards currently sit seventh in the Patriot League standings. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

Navy (7-6 overall, 2-5 Patriot League) edged out the men’s lacrosse team (5-8 overall, 2-5 Patriot League) 9-6 in Annapolis last Saturday, meaning the Maroon and White must win their game against Bucknell tonight to have a chance to qualify for the Patriot League Tournament for the first time in program history.

The game against Navy, although scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m., was delayed for two hours due to inclement weather. 

“I think we responded really well to the weather delay, as we went out there and gave it the best we had,” junior attack Kalman Kraham said. “Navy is a very skilled and disciplined team so we knew we had to have great effort and energy, and we did just that.”

Interestingly, Bill Belichick, head coach and general manager of the New England Patriots, was spotted just outside the team locker rooms before the game.

Amanda Belichick, his daughter, is the coach of the Holy Cross women’s lacrosse team, who played Navy’s women’s lacrosse team at 12 p.m. on Saturday.  In addition, the Belichick family has a special connection with the Naval Academy. Steve Belichick, father of Bill, served in the Navy during World War II and eventually joined the football team as a staff member.

Once the game began, Navy immediately started on the front foot. The Midshipmen took a 3-0 lead less than six minutes into the contest, but sophomore attacker Riley Sullivan squeezed in a goal for the Leopards just before the end of the first quarter. 

The Maroon and White were left to play catch-up for the rest of the game and were not once able to seize a lead. Their closest moment came with 4:48 left in the third quarter when Kraham’s goal brought the Leopards to within one. The score was 5-6 going into the fourth, but Navy ended up running away with the win. 

“I think us being close in these games shows how much we have grown over the last few years,” Kraham said. “It is a testament to our senior class, who has been here since the start of this journey to become a top Patriot League team.”

Kraham ended the match with two goals, making it 11 in his last four games. He has proven to be a reliable option for the Leopards’ offense, scoring in all but two of the games he’s played this year. 

Junior attacker Peter Lehman also had two points in what was his first multi-goal performance in just under a month. Despite this uncharacteristically quiet run of form over the past few weeks, Lehman is on track to lead the team in combined goals and assists for the third straight year. He currently has 34 points, while junior attacker Charlie Cunniffe has 33. Lehman, a true attacking ace, notched a staggering 55 points last season and tallied 24 as a rookie. 

After the loss, the Leopards dropped to seventh in the Patriot League standings, one spot away from postseason qualification.

Navy, on the other hand, received a major boost to its playoff hopes. The Midshipmen jumped to fourth place, just one win behind third place Lehigh (8-3 overall, 5-1 Patriot League). Notably, Army (9-2 overall, 6-0 Patriot League) and Boston University (8-3 overall, 5-1 Patriot League) each clinched a berth in the Patriot League Championship after this weekend’s fixtures. 

For the Maroon and White, one more Patriot League regular season game awaits as they will face Bucknell (3-8 overall, 2-4 Patriot League) tonight under Kirby’s Friday night lights. The result will dictate whether or not this Lafayette squad has the chance to become the first ever in the school’s history to qualify for the Patriot League Championship. Bucknell currently occupies the last playoff spot, and a win could see the Leopards inch just ahead of them. All eyes would then be on the Bison’s closing matchup, which is scheduled for April 28 against Navy.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Eric Ponieman
Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
Roll Pards!

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *