The Boston University men’s lacrosse team pulled off a 16-11 victory against Colgate University Saturday afternoon on Nickerson Field. After trailing by as many as five goals in the second quarter, the Terriers rallied in the second half for their fourth win of the season.
The Terriers came into the weekend trailing the Raiders in the Patriot League North Division, with their only loss of the season coming against Army West Point, the No. 6 ranked team in the country at the time of contest. Despite the home team’s strong start to the season, Colgate presented an imposing challenge.
BU head coach Ryan Polley was missing two first-line midfielders and his top defensive midfielder going into Saturday’s game.
“We said this year was going to be crazy,” Polley said in a press conference Saturday. “Guys stepped up and when called upon made the plays for us to secure this victory.”
The missing starters were sharply apparent in the first quarter. Colgate got off to a strong start, winning the faceoff battles and stymying the Terriers when on offense. The Raiders went up 4-1 in the first quarter and even pushed the lead to 8-3 early in the second.
Two of Colgate’s early goals came off of frenetic transition plays when they were able to catch the Terriers off guard. Halfway through the first quarter, Raiders sophomore midfielder Thomas Colucci scooped a groundball up off the faceoff and carried it down the field to score unassisted.
Five minutes later, sophomore defenseman Donny Gayhardt launched a shot from near his own goal that found the Terrier net while junior goalie Matt Garber was covering an attack on the clear. It would be the first of two bizarre cross-field goals the Raiders would strike on.
“You never want to give up two goals, you’re usually willing to typically give up one,” Polley said of the two empty-net goals that came off the 10-man ride. “But it’s in our DNA and we stuck with it and got some key turnovers even after that second goal.”
A large amount of BU’s offense in the first half was generated by junior attackman Timmy Ley, the team’s leading scorer. Ley had three goals in the first 30 minutes, assisted on another in the third quarter and forced the transition turnover that led to a fourth. The Terriers went into the locker room down 8-6.
In the second half, the Terrier offense began to find a groove, cycling and setting picks on the crease. Ley and sophomore attackman Louis Perfetto facilitated the offense from behind the Colgate net, cutting and passing to the rotating players on the goal line to set up quality shot attempts. Seven different players netted goals for the home team in the second half, including sophomore attackman Vince D’Alto, who scored two goals in the third quarter to round out a hat trick.
On the defensive side, Garber did his part to shut down the Raiders’ offense, finishing with 11 saves. The Terriers continued to implement the aggressive ride on the clear, forcing seven turnovers in the final two quarters. Polley highlighted the defensive performance of sophomore long-stick midfielder Roy Meyer, who led the team with four caused turnovers.
“Some guys I think need to get their feet wet,” Polley said. “I think we were a little hesitant in the first quarter and first half to slide. I wouldn’t say it was an adjustment, more so, we were just a little bit more decisive in our sliding and our slide and recovery defense.”
In the first minute of the fourth quarter, Perfetto rifled a pass from behind the net to sophomore attackman Anthony Forziati on the low crease, who put the ball on net, giving the Terriers an 11-10 lead, its first of the game. BU went on to dominate the remainder of the quarter, stretching the lead all the way to the final buzzer.
For Polley, the win reflected the strides his team has made from just a few weeks ago, when they hadn’t quite pulled off the comeback win against Army.
“It was similar to the Army game,” he said, “where we were in it and we got back but we just couldn’t get over that hump to tie it, so I think we learned from that.”
The win pushed the Terriers ahead of Colgate in the Patriot League rankings — second in the North Division — and they now stand at 4-1 overall. Their next game will come Saturday, when the team travels to Easton, Pennsylvania to face Lafayette College.