The Boston University men’s lacrosse team ended its season in the Patriot League quarterfinals when the Terriers lost 11-8 to the Colgate University Raiders at Nickerson Field Tuesday.
The abrupt end to the season came in the third meeting between BU and Colgate this year, after the Terriers took the first two games. The home team faced an uphill battle going into the Tuesday matchup. BU head coach Ryan Polley was missing four of his top players, including junior attackman Timmy Ley, the team’s leading scorer, and junior goalkeeper Matt Garber.
“I give Colgate a lot of credit,” Polley said in a postgame press conference. “It’s hard to beat a good team three times, and I think they’re a good team.”
The Raiders scored in the opening 20 seconds. After a turnover by BU, Colgate senior midfielder Owen Callahan took the ball down the field to notch a quick transition goal. BU sophomore attackman Louis Perfetto responded with a goal for the home team. The game remained tied at 1-1 for most of the first quarter until the Raiders took a 2-1 lead with about three minutes to go in the frame.
The Terriers took their first lead of the game in the second quarter. Perfetto forced a turnover in the offensive zone, recovered the ground ball and scored all in the same sequence to tie the game. Soon after, freshman attackman Christian Quadrino drove to the crease from behind the net for the go-ahead goal with just under 12 minutes to go.
But the visitors scored the next two goals and kept the Terriers off the board for the rest of the half, holding on to a one-score lead.
The BU defense was able to keep the game close in the first half by shutting out Colgate’s star midfielders and attackmen. BU graduate student defenseman Nicholas Ellerton and sophomore long-stick midfielder Roy Meyer smothered junior attackman Brian Minicus and senior attackman Mike Hawkins, who each lead Colgate in points and goals, respectively. Both Raiders were kept off the box score until the second half.
The BU offense started to find a rhythm in the second half. Most of the scoring was generated from behind the Raider’s net, either via cutting or passing to the crease.
Sophomore attacker Vince D’Alto scored about three minutes into the third period and then assisted on a goal by junior attackman Jack Collins, giving the Terriers a 5-4 lead.
The Terriers found the back of the net two more times with goals from Perfetto and freshman attacker Tommy Jepson, completing a four-goal run that put BU up 7-4.
But Colgate was far from done. The Terriers, who were a perfect 14-14 on clears in the first half, made two uncharacteristic transition turnovers that led to goals. The Raiders were able to tie the game again with one second to go in the third period.
The late-period comeback was all the visitors needed to get back into the game. The Raiders dominated the beginning of the fourth quarter, as Minicus and Hawkins started to get involved in the offense. Colgate went on a six-goal run from 3:39 in the third quarter to 9:04 in the fourth.
A lack of offensive possessions late in the game caused problems for the Terriers. Raider sophomore faceoff specialist Thomas Colucci was crucial to the comeback, winning 16 of 22 total faceoffs. When Colgate scored, the Terriers struggled to get the ball back on offense. The Terriers also lost the ground ball battle 27-51, a factor Polley pointed to after the game.
“I think that goal with one second [left] was really tough,” Polley said. “Then they win the opening faceoff of the fourth quarter and score there. Lacrosse is a game of runs, and you’ve got to be able to get stops, and even when we got stops . . . we weren’t able to clear the ball.”
The Terriers tried to spark another comeback with a late goal by freshman midfielder Tommy Bourque, but Colgate’s Minicus found his second goal of the game with fewer than three minutes to go, restoring the three-goal lead that lasted the rest of the game.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Terriers, especially for the 11 BU seniors, as well as for Ellerton, who chose to come back for a fifth year after the 2020 season was cut short.
After the game, Polley praised Ellerton and the seniors for getting the team to Tuesday’s game.
“I told Nick Ellerton [after the loss] I was really glad that he came back,” Polley said. “I know it didn’t end the way he wanted it to . . . but for him to say he was glad he came back meant a lot to me.”
As for the future, the Terriers are still a young team. Timmy Ley, Vince D’Alto, and Louis Perfetto are all expected to be back in 2022, along with several other promising young players.
“I’m excited for next year,” Polley said. “It’s been a long year, but we’ll take a break and then recharge, and then we’ll start getting after it in our summer workouts.”