Brock’ men’s Lacrosse team had their home opener on Sat, Sept. 17. The defending Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA) champions rolled into town fresh off a massive 17-4 win over the Laurentian Voyageurs on Saturday the 10th. They faced off against the Guelph Gryphons, their challenger in last year’s Baggataway Championship.
Guelph struck first, but the Badgers quickly responded. A nice move by Mitchell Zulian to shake his defender allowed him to send a short pass to Aidan Buis right in front to tie the game at 1 at 11:20.
Some strong ball movement and big faceoff wins netted Guelph the next 3 goals of the match. Midfielder James Gowland would make a nice move to get open for a shot but would ring the crossbar. Luckily, the ball would come right back to him and he’d make no mistake on the follow up attempt.
Some strong defensive plays by Brock held the score at 4-2 for the rest of the quarter.
The first save of the game by either side came right off the bat, shutting down a Brock attempt. Brock’s goalie would come up with a couple nice saves of his own a minute later. The score stayed 4-2 after another in-tight chance for the Badgers.
Guelph quickly turned the momentum in their direction. They scored two goals in quick succession, once again controlling the majority of faceoffs. Despite a nice save on Brock inside the 7th minute and a couple big defensive plays, the Badgers couldn’t get much of anything going in the second quarter.
This was further hampered by a tough break as a missed slash call not only gave an opportunity for Guelph to grab a 7-2 lead, but also caused an injury to midfielder Liam McCrimmon, causing him to leave the game.
In the second half, Brock looked bent on turning the tide. Brock opened the scoring with a nice goal, and though the Gryphons would add another, the third quarter was all Brock. Some great ball movement set up Brock’s 4th goal, and a snipe from distance by longpole Andrew Kidd drew Brock within three. Another nice goal by Buis with under a minute to go pulled Brock to down only 8-6 with a quarter to go.
A huge defensive play by LSM MacGregor Allen and an equally impressive save by Connor O’Toole who had come in in relief steadied the Badgers early in the fourth. O’Toole would make two more saves back-to-back inside the 8th minute to keep the score within two.
Unfortunately, two was as close as the Badgers would get. An admirable comeback attempt would inevitably fall short as Guelph would add three more goals, stretching their lead to an 11-6 win.
“Our defence man-to-man was great, our first quarter was a bit rough, but we had some new kids that really stepped up.” said head coach Vince Longboat after the game.
Despite the efforts of the previously mentioned rookies, coach Longboat leaned on the group’s experience to right the ship.
“We just went with more of a senior team in the second half. They know what it takes to win. But right now, we have a couple guys down that are big pieces that we are going to have to replace.” In addition to McCrimmon, the Badgers also lost veteran Luca Romano to injury.
Though the comeback effort was impressive, coach Longboat would have rather not been in that situation in the first place.
“I think a full 60.” Was coach Longboat’s answer for what he was looking for out of the Badgers next game. “A full 60 is what we need to do. Lock it down like we did on D for the whole 60. Other than that, run our systems and we’ll be fine.”The Badgers play against McMaster University Friday Sept.23 and next play at home that Saturday against the University of Toronto at 4 p.m. A full schedule for the lacrosse team can be found on the Brock Badgers website.