Facing the University of Vermont, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team fell behind early and was never able to regain momentum, losing its fifth contest, 13-9, Saturday afternoon at Nickerson Field.
Less than a minute-and-a-half into the contest, the Catamounts (2-2) struck first. The Terriers (0-5, 0-1 Patriot League) corralled the opening faceoff, but the Catamounts stripped the ball away from freshman attack Craig Zebrowski. After patiently moving the ball around the Terrier goal, midfielder Ian MacKay sent the ball to midfielder Andrew Buckanavage who zipped it past freshman goalkeeper Christian Carson-Banister.
Midfielder Andrew Muscara beat out freshman midfielder Sam Talkow on the subsequent faceoff, giving the Catamounts another offensive possession.
On the following Vermont possession, freshman defender Dominick Calisto was called for slashing. The Catamount offense took advantage of the opportunity, and freshman Alex Stanko fired the ball in from the left side of the crease to make the score 2-0.
BU coach Ryan Polley then called a timeout in order to settle down his team, but the Vermont offense would not stop its roll. At the 11:27 mark, MacKay scored the first of his four goals. Senior Graham Horvath extended the Vermont lead to 4-0 when he found the back of the net with 9:34 left in the first quarter. Polley would then call his second timeout of the quarter to try and stop the bleeding.
The Terriers would fight back, scoring two quick goals. With 8:06 to go, freshman attack Ryan Johnston scored his first goal of the day on an assist from freshman midfielder Chad Bell. Sixty-six seconds later, freshman attack Pat Myers scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season, bringing the score to 4-2.
The Terrier excitement was short-lived, though, as attack Patrick Clark found a charging MacKay at the top of the crease just a little less than a minute later.
Vermont controlled the next faceoff and Clark launched a shot, but Carson-Banister came up with the save, the first save of the game. The BU defense was able to clear the ball and send it up the field. However, midfielder Sammy Davis had the ball stripped from him, and on the next Catamount possession, MacKay completed his first-quarter hat trick with 3:13 left in the frame.
BU ended the first quarter on a high note thanks to a slashing penalty on senior Garrett Virtue at 2:23. On the man-up opportunity, redshirt freshman attack Sam Tenney scored, making it a 6-3 game.
Polley said he liked of the way his team fought their way back into the game, but that the early defensive breakdown was troubling.
“I was proud of the effort we gave after getting behind,” Polley said. “We went down 4-0, and we fought back to get into it. We battled all day after not coming out really strong … We’ve fallen into a trap where we don’t play great over a small period of time and it really costs us.”
On the Catamounts’ second possession of the quarter next quarter, Vermont fired two quick shots at goal before attack Michael Clarke got the ball and scored the team’s fifth goal at the 11:05 mark.
For the next several minutes, Vermont threatened to run up the score. However, the Terrier defense held strong. Freshman defender Jake Dansey forced a turnover, which gave BU its own scoring chance. Johnston then scored his second goal of the afternoon on an assist from freshman attack Clay Phillips with 4:55 left in the half.
Again, BU let control of the game slip away from them as Talkow lost two consecutive faceoffs and Johnston was given a one-minute penalty for slashing, allowing the Catamounts to score two more goals before the end of the half. The teams went into the break with Vermont up 9-4.
The third quarter proved to be penalty-filled and the teams struggled to hold possession. Two-and-half minutes into the frame, attack Nick Bartlett extended the Catamount lead to 10-4.
BU then scored back-to-back man-up goals, both from freshman midfielder James Clarke.
Vermont answered back with two goals in 23 seconds, though. After MacKay fired the ball into the net for his fourth goal of the game, Bartlett scored his second goal on the afternoon on a man-up chance to give the Catamounts a 12-6 advantage heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth, the Terriers found themselves on the wrong side of a 6-on-4 advantage. Attack Graham Horvath capitalized immediately, allowing the UVM lead to grow to 13-6.
“It was somewhat of a sloppy game, the game was called really tightly so the flow was a little off,” Polley said. “We had 10 [penalties] and they had eight. That’s a lot of penalties.”
At the end, BU found the offensive rhythm that it was searching for all afternoon. Freshman attack Adam Schaal scored on man-down chance with 7:49 left. Not even 30 seconds later, attack Sammy Davis recorded his second goal of the season. Davis would strike again with 4:02 remaining in the game, but it proved to be too late, as the Terriers fell.
Although the game served as another loss for the Terriers, Polley said he was happy with his team’s overall improvement.
“Since the Canisius game, I’ve been really proud of my team, with the effort and the energy level that we’ve had,” Polley said. “Across the board, it’s been terrific. Just those two things, effort and energy, have allowed us to compete. But the next step is execution wise – executing at a higher level, offensive, defensively.
“We’re very pleased with the fact that we’re a young team, and we’re competing for four quarters. The energy’s been great, the bench has been so supportive…But to take a big step forward we have to execute better.”