The 4-6 men’s lacrosse team watched their season come to an end on Sunday with a 10-3 playoff loss to the Trent Excalibur, who went undefeated this year with a 10-0 regular-season record.
Despite a stellar performance by netminder Dan Blackburn and a strong defensive first half, head coach Jeff Wills said Queen’s failed to take the necessary risks to fuel offensive chances in the second half.
“The better team won,” Wills said. “I think it was the kind of game where if they weren’t at their best and we were we could’ve won but they seem to be at their best all the time. They don’t make mistakes.”
Wills also attributed the loss to a lack of ball possession.
“Our goalie probably had his best game of the year. But, then again, it’s one of those possession things; they seem to have the most depth in the league and had the ball the whole game.” Despite the loss, Wills said he was pleased with the overall performance of his squad this season.
“Compared to last season, it was a great season,” he said. “We’re losing a few key guys but we had more than a few this year that didn’t see a lot of field time but are certainly ready to step in and fill their roles. I think we’re going to be really solid next year as well.”
But Wills was quick to point out the areas where his team failed to capitalize throughout the season. In particular, the close losses to McGill and Bishop’s were difficult turning points for the squad, Wills said. The loss of Nathan Leader—the team’s leading scorer—to injury five games into the season compounded the team’s struggles.
“But overall I thought it was a very good season,” Wills said. “[There was] a lot of heart from the guys except for short stints here and there.”
Wills said he was impressed with his players’ increased dedication this year.
“The best element was the team commitment,” he said. “This year, everyone really wanted to make the team better and come out to practices and commit a lot more than they have in the past few years.”
Wills said the strongest aspect of his squad this year was their depth, a trait that will hopefully carry into the next season.
“We probably had five rookies this year that saw really limited time,” he said. “If they came a few years ago they would have been second line players for sure. They should do really well next year.”
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