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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 17, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsBend it like Beck

Bend it like Beck: Men’s lacrosse needs balance to succeed

The clock struck 8:47 on the scoreboard during the men’s lacrosse match against Lycoming College on March 1 in Higgins Stadium as sophomore attacker Jake Cotton slid one into the back of the net for the Bombers’ first home goal of the 2016 season.

Thirty-eight seconds later, freshman midfielder Brendan King added another one to make the score 2–0 in favor of the Blue and Gold. From there, the Bombers added nine more goals in the first quarter and would go on to win 20–1 over the Warriors. It was a solid home opener win and a dominating performance from the offense.

Since then, they have won their last three of four games to improve their record to 5–1, including a sweep on their annual spring break trip in Tampa, Florida. However, if the Bombers want to continue their winning ways, they must rely on a balanced attack with their defense rather than on their offense.

In total, the team has scored 96 goals thus far into this season and is ranked third in scoring offense in Division III, with an average of 16 points per game. This is much attributed to the Bombers’ depth at the attacker and midfield positions with a heavy-loaded freshman class.

They have scored double digits in each of their five wins this year and have an 11.50 scoring margin leading them to victory. Despite this superiority and depth of the offense, the Bombers must not become solely dependent on scoring 15 goals a game.

After graduating a pair of senior defenders, the play of senior captain Eli Gobrecht, who was named second-team All-American by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association in 2015, will determine how the defense is dictated.

The South Hill squad surrendered 137 goals in just 18 games last season, while it only gave up six goals or fewer in six of those games.  

Gobrecht was named to the Preseason All-American by Nike/Lacrosse Magazine based on his performance last year, and his aggressive style of play manufactures the defense, along with senior goalkeeper and fellow captain Scott Sidnam. Sophomores Keith Morrissey and Winston Wenham will look to their co-captains to form a robust defensive unit this season.

When it comes to Empire 8 foes such as Alfred University or Stevens Institute of Technology, a stabilized approach is what it’s going to take to win the conference title. With the Saxons’ strong core on defense and the Ducks’ dynamic offense, utilizing both sides of the field will lead to the NCAA Tournament for the second time since 2008.

Jonathan Beck can be reached at jbeck3@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @jonbeck365