Playing in its first-ever home game, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team fell to Canisius College, 9-3, Saturday at Nickerson Field. While the matchup served as the season opener for the Golden Griffins, the visitors dominated for most of the game.
After losing their first game ever at the Division I level on the road at Mercer University Feb. 8, 17-6, the Terriers (0-2) came into Saturday’s contest hoping to improve on that result.
The Golden Griffins (1-0) won the opening faceoff and were able to control the ball for the opening minutes. Their first possession amounted to a shot from freshman Jeff Edwards, whose strike was stopped by freshman goalkeeper Christian Carson-Banister.
Although the Terriers were able to control much of the possession for the next 10 minutes, Canisius found the first breakthrough.
With 5:27 left in the first quarter, attack Vince Gravino lingered around the BU defense before firing a bouncing shot into the back of the net.
A theme of the game was scoring in quick succession, which Gravino demonstrated by striking again just 20 seconds later, gathering a loose ball near the Terriers’ goal, converting the opportunity to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead.
Although the teams ended the first quarter tied with eight shots each, Canisius’ ability to finish their chances on net gave it the two-goal advantage going into the second quarter.
The second quarter was BU’s best in terms of scoring, though it was ultimately outdone by the efficient Griffins’ offense.
After Canisius scored off an out-of-bounds play with 10 minutes left in the half, the Terriers managed to get one back when freshman attack Pat Myers lobbed a pass to freshman attack Sam Tenney, who fired a shot past goalkeeper Alex Govenettio.
Just 12 seconds later, freshman midfielder Cal Dearth jumped on another chance after the Terriers won the faceoff, cutting the deficit to 3-2. The goal was Dearth’s second goal of the season.
BU coach Ryan Polley said not much changed in the second quarter besides the team’s ability to convert some of its attempts.
“I thought we made a couple shots [in the second quarter],” Polley said. “We had good ball movement. We won a couple faceoffs, and we didn’t face off very well today.”
While BU got a couple of goals before the half, the Griffins scored three times in the second frame, increasing their lead to 5-2 at the break.
The third quarter saw much tougher defense from both ends, yielding just one goal. Gravino earned his hat trick when he picked up the ball just a couple feet from the goal, where he was able to place it past Banister to make the score 6-2 going into the last quarter.
The fourth quarter only put the Terriers further behind, as they were outscored 3-1. The Griffins received inspired play from junior Tim Edwards, who assisted on two goals in the quarter.
Although the final score was lopsided, the Terriers showed, statistically at least, that they could compete with the Griffins. BU outshot Canisius, 39-30 and committed only 21 turnovers to the Griffins’ 25.
“I was happy that we competed for four quarters, and I thought the guys did a good job,” Polley said. “I was happy how we played defense, and I thought they played really hard. That’s what we’re trying to get the guys to do — not worry so much about the result, but play four solid quarters and execute our game plan. I thought we did a good job of doing that today.”
Despite giving up 24 goals through two games, Carson-Banister showed strong energy and effort in goal, saving 14 shots.
“Our defense did a great job,” Polley said. “I thought Christian did a great job in goal, making some saves that kept the game close. There were a couple turnovers that led to fast breaks, which kind of broke our back.
“Overall I was very pleased with the defense. I thought we much improved from last week, which we’re hoping for. But we got to get back to working on our offense and shooting, and figuring out how to get some goals.”