Fading fast: Playoff chances slim after lopsided loss to No. 1 ranked Loyola

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Scoring was a major problem in the Lafayette men’s lacrosse team’s loss to No. 1 ranked Loyola last weekend.

Michael Morgan

Photo courtesy of Larry French

Following its crushing 21-4 defeat to No. 1 ranked Loyola University Maryland, the Lafayette men’s lacrosse team finds itself in desperate need of conference wins.

It marked the second time Loyola notched the 20-goal mark in a game this season, the first coming in its 20-4 win over Towson in February.

Clearly this Loyola team is loaded with firepower on offense, and executing the game plan to counter this was a substantial challenge – one that proved too difficult for Lafayette (1-6 overall, 1-4 Patriot League).

“The first thing we wanted to do is stop them in transition,” head coach Jim Rogalski said. “They’re very good at forcing the ball in transition and forcing you to play defense in transition, and I think that we didn’t do a very good job with that.”

Lafayette’s struggles on faceoffs continued as well, as the Leopards lost 18 of the game’s 29 faceoffs.

Fresh off this lopsided loss, reality has set in: there is no more room for error in Patriot League matchups.

“I think we’re going to have to win out to be in the playoff hunt,” Rogalski said. “I don’t know if only three wins in the Patriot League are going to get it done this year.”

Lafayette faces a tough conclusion to its conference schedule. The Leopards will take on Holy Cross, Bucknell, and back-to-back defending Patriot League champion Lehigh to round out their Patriot League schedule.

Sitting at eighth place in the Patriot League standings with a 1-4 conference record, Lafayette must make it to sixth place or better to be eligible for the Patriot League Tournament.

In front of them is Boston (1-3), Navy (2-3), Bucknell (3-2), Lehigh (3-2), Army (3-1), Colgate (3-1) and Loyola (4-0).

Even at this point in the season with only one win to their name, co-captain Matt Evans ‘14 keeps pressing that there is still hope for Lafayette.

“The other captains and I are stressing that there is still a great opportunity to get into the Patriot League Tournament,” Evans said. “That is our goal, and to obtain that goal we need to refocus and get back to playing strong.”

Both Bucknell and Lehigh carry players who have experienced winning Patriot League titles. Defeating them in consecutive games towards the end of the season is a daunting task.

“We feel that if we play a strong game, we can compete with anyone,” Evans said.

“We will be in every game,” Rogalski said. “In a Division 1 game, for the most part it boils down to five or six plays, and if those plays are mistakes, you lose the game… we’re trying to focus on being on the plus end of those five or six plays.”

The Leopards will square off against Mercer University tonight at 7:30 on Fisher Field. Mercer has recently been in the news for its bracket-busting victory against No. 3 seeded Duke in debatably the tournament’s biggest upset thus far.

With Mercer’s lacrosse team sitting atop their conference at 4-3 (3-0), perhaps it’s Lafayette’s turn to complete the upset.