Lacrosse seasons end in disappointment: what’s next?

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Michael Morgan

Photo by Austin Drucker ‘17

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Final Record: 2-11 overall, 1-8 Patriot League. The Leopards’ two wins were against Colgate on February 22 and Monmouth on April 1.

Most Devastating Loss: Two overtime nonconference losses to Mercer and Manhattan were games that Lafayette expected to win. Nevertheless, head coach Jim Rogalski said the loss to Navy was the hardest for his team.

“We played a good game against Colgate, only lost to Army by two goals,” Rogalski said. “And then just went into the Naval Academy and just didn’t play well.”

That two-goal loss to Army was the last time Lafayette would come close in conference play, dropping all the rest of their matchups by at least five goals and as many as 17 to No. 1 ranked Loyola.

Team MVP: Goalie Jake Hyatt ‘14 boasted an average of ten saves per game. Playing nearly the entire season in goal, resting for just one game, Hyatt was resilient in goal all season long as an average of 38 shots per game were fired at him.

Rookie of the Year: Attackman Jason Sands ‘17 led all freshmen with six goals and two assists.

Playing in all but one game and starting in nine, Sands was one of the brightest spots for the team on the year. Sands will push for the number one right attackman job next season.

Crazy Stat: Out of 67 Division I men’s lacrosse teams, Lafayette ranks 65th in efficiency on man-up offense, but ranks seventh on man-down defense.

What to Look for Next Year: Non-conference opponents next year will be Wagner, UMBC, NJIT and Penn. The game against No. 11 Penn is one that Rogalski has already circled on his calendar.

“Penn will be ranked nationally right from the get go,” Rogalski said. “Offensively they are good, and our defense will be very, very young. We’re graduating three seniors. We’re basically only returning one senior on defense.”

With the graduation of captains Matt Evans and Brendan Gover, Lafayette’s recruiting class of 2018 will be bringing in three long poles that will fight for starting positions on low defense.

“From a leadership stand point, replacing Brendan Gover is going to be tough,” Rogalski said. “From a defensive stand point, Matt Evans and his work ethic will be hard to replace.”

The recruiting class, which will be officially announced next month, is expected to contain 14 new players from various positions.

Rogalski said that he expects at least ten of his recruits to impact the team immediately upon arrival. Ranking 61st out of 67 in the nation on faceoff win percentage, Lafayette has been desperate to find a solution.

“The goal this year will be the same next year,” Rogalski said. “It’s to make the Patriot League playoffs.”

But for the second year in a row, Lafayette did not meet its lasting goal. After ranking in the bottom ten for Division I programs in an array of statistics, there simply was too much lacking with this year’s team.

Perhaps the 14 new faces will bring answers to those questions.

 

 

By Brian O’Neill ‘16 | Staff Writer

Photo by Hana Isihara ‘17girllax

Final Record: 7-10 overall, 2-6 Patriot League.

“I’m obviously disappointed that we didn’t make it to the Patriot League tournament because I think we were better than the teams that went,” senior captain Laura Kleiber said. “Unfortunately we didn’t play up to our potential when we played those teams.”

Most Devastating Loss: The Leopards lost 18-17 in triple overtime to Colgate on April 12. Kleiber had a chance to win in the final seconds of regulation, but her shot rang off the post. The loss eliminated them from the Patriot League Tournament.

Head coach Alison Fisher was quick to point out that there were four-one goal losses in conference play to Lehigh, Boston, Holy Cross and Colgate.

“Each game presented us with different challenges and in each contest we responded well to those challenges and still came up short which was very tough for us emotionally,” Fisher said. “Colgate being the final loss that eliminated us from the Patriot League tournament was probably the most difficult.”

Team MVP: Senior captains Ana White and Kleiber share MVP. White scored 35 goals, had 15 assists and scooped 36 ground balls. White broke the Patriot League career record with 295 draw controls. Kleiber scored 48 goals and had seven assists.

Rookie of the Year: Freshman midfielder Kirsten Wilhelmson takes the cake on this one, contributing an incredible 36 goals in her first season with the Leopards.

She fell just shy of earning the award in the league, however.

“I think Kirsten Wilhelmson got robbed not being the rookie of the year this year!” Kleiber said, expressing her own disappointment.

Crazy Stat: White found herself ranked seventh in the nation this season in the “caused turnovers” statistic with 41. The next highest number in that statistic for the Leopards was 18 for both Kleiber and Rachel Martin ‘14.

What to Look for Next Year: More is expected from the rising sophomores who have already made a large contribution this year.

“We had three freshmen start every single game this season: Amanda Case, Charlotte Rath and Kirsten Wilhelmsen,” Fisher said. “They played like upperclassmen and accepted a lot of responsibility for young players.”

Fisher also talked about the 11 new freshmen that will be joining the team next year.

“Next year’s class will bring us a lot of depth and a lot of diversity,” Fisher said. “We will be ‘young’ once again but I think they are all prepared to contribute right away and each has the potential to do so.”

The loss of Kleiber and White will be tough no doubt, but Fisher is hoping these new additions and underclassmen can fill their shoes.