Lacrosse, Sports

Men’s lacrosse historic season will go down as one of the best

Senior midfielder Cal Dearth was the best offensive player this season for the Terriers, and his presence will be missed. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston University men’s lacrosse was down by three goals midway through the third quarter against Loyola University Maryland, the 2016 and 2017 Patriot League champions, on April 15. It could not afford another loss, and the Greyhounds (10-5, 6-2 Patriot League) looked like a team that had reached the Final Four of the Division I NCAA lacrosse tournament the previous year.

BU (12-4, 5-3 Patriot League) had suffered blows to its momentum after consecutive losses to Lehigh University and the United States Military Academy. Entrenched in a familiar deficit, the Terriers’ season was in jeopardy.

Whether it was a surge of determination or a refusal to fail, the Terriers found the will to retaliate.

BU answered with two goals to end the third quarter. In the fourth, the Terriers continued their onslaught to force an overtime.

In overtime, sophomore attacker James Burr scored a game-winning goal to clinch their first Patriot League tournament appearance in franchise history. In the most riveting game of the season, the Terriers not only defeated one of the nation’s most elite teams and mounted a comeback to make program history, but they brought their tenacious leader, head coach Ryan Polley, to tears.

“I was just so happy,” Polley said. “The win against Loyola [was the best moment]. The overtime win against Loyola was the culmination of four years. Getting over the hump of making the tournament, beating a final four team and a team that eventually won our conference. It’s been in the making for four years and certainly when that overtime goal went in and we clinched a spot [in the Patriot League tournament], it was the highlight of the season.”

While the decisive game against Loyola was special, it shared an element common in many other games — resilience.

However, the Terriers’ ability to bounce back relied on their strategy focused on teamwork and trust.

“We wanted to finish what we started,” Polley said. “We had gotten off to some really good starts in the previous three years and we were unable to finish down the stretch. We were kind of headed down that same path and we were able to right the ship with our senior leadership and get it done against Loyola and Holy Cross and then win our first playoff game, which was huge.”

The team finished the season with its best franchise record and a No. 20 national ranking.

BU also had three seniors on the All-Patriot League First Team — goalie Christian Carson-Banister, who was also named Goalkeeper of the Year, defender Dominick Calisto and midfielder Cal Dearth — and three more players on the All-Patriot League Second Team: senior midfielder Greg Wozniak, junior attacker Jack Wilson and sophomore attacker/midfielder Brendan Homire.

Additionally, Polley was named Patriot League Coach of the Year.

Much of the team’s success can be attributed to the seniors. The program’s first graduating class and original members of the first BU lacrosse team, the senior class has brought BU to where it stands.

“The seniors have developed in every possible way,” Polley said. “From being great citizens on campus, to becoming better players, to better leaders, they have been the foundation of the program and always will be.”

Though the Terriers fell in the semifinals of the Patriot League tournament to Army (11-4, 6-2 Patriot League), they undoubtedly had their best season yet and one that will be remembered for ages.

The Terriers have set themselves up for future success. Now, BU will fight for a league title and a spot in the NCAA tournament in the future.

“I’m looking forward to having a new team [next season],” Polley said.

While the future for the Terriers is bright, the seniors of the program will leave the program with an incredible story. They will leave knowing that they have paved a path for future success.

“I’m proud of how the seniors have finished with a great senior year,” Polley said. “We graduated an amazing class of seniors.”

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