Playing in its first-ever regular season home game at Nickerson field, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team will look for its first win when it faces Canisius College Saturday at Nickerson Field.
The match will serve as the first of the season for the Golden Griffins, who are coming off of a 3-10 season and a fifth place finish in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
As a team loaded with youth, BU coach Ryan Polley noted the importance of playing as many games as possible to get a feel for in-game situations.
In last week’s 17-6 loss to Mercer University, the Terriers (0-1) struggled to maintain their composure for all 60 minutes, resulting in a second-half collapse in which the Bears outscored them 9-3.
“We’re so young and inexperienced that any game experience that we can get is invaluable,” Polley said. “Our scrimmages were huge and our first game against Mercer was huge. Everything is so brand new to us. It’s important to just get out and play and get these different situations that happen in the games that you can’t emulate in practice or even the scrimmages.”
Against the Bears, the Terriers struggled to defend in transition, which led to many unnecessary turnovers and penalties. BU committed 21 turnovers while only forcing 12 from Mercer and took nine penalties to Mercer’s three. This week in practice, Polley’s squad looked to rectify this problem.
“We’ve been working on our transition defense,” Polley said. “Mercer kind of capitalized on a couple transition situations that we gave up so we’ve been working on not giving those situations up. We can do a better job defending them.”
Much like the Terriers, the Canisius roster is predominately made up of freshmen and sophomores, with 27 of the team’s 41 players listed as underclassmen.
However, the Golden Griffins do have some key players from last season’s squad returning to the field. Most importantly, Canisius brings back midfielder Tim Edwards, who last year led the team in points, goals and assists. Edwards was also named to the First Team All-MAAC team at the end of the season. During his freshman season, he was named the MAAC Rookie of the Year.
Starting goalkeeper Alex Govenetitto will once again man the cage for the Golden Griffins. Last season, Govenetitto posted a 42.8 save percentage and allowed 12.16 goals per game during his 11 starts.
The BU attack, particularly freshman Pat Myers, who scored two goals and had an assist against Mercer, will look to exploit a Golden Griffins defense that allowed an average of 12.08 goals per game during the 2013 campaign.
The faceoff battle is also something of which the Terriers will look to take advantage. Freshman midfielder Sam Talkow, who last week posted a 71.4 percent draw control, and sophomore midfielder Elliot Burr, who won one of his four faceoff tries, should be key in this facet of the game.
Although Canisius is coming off a rough season, Polley said the Griffins will be worthy opponents.
“I think it’s gonna be a great game,” Polley said. “They won their conference two years ago. Coach Mearns is the coach of the Canadian National Team, so he’s a great coach. We’re more concerned with how we play and the things that we can control. We need to execute a little better on offense and continue to face off well and hopefully play a little better defensively and get some saves.“
After practicing daily and playing several scrimmages at Nickerson Field over the past five months, Polley and his team are looking forward to finally getting the chance to play its first real game in front of the home crowd.
“We’re really excited,” Polley said. “Hopefully we’ll get a lot of people out to there to check us out and see how we look. Just to play at home, it’s much more comfortable. You’re not in a hotel and you can get a good night’s sleep. We’re excited to be at home on Nickerson and we’re very hopeful that we play a very strong game.“