Lacrosse doubles up on Carleton

Gaels men’s lacrosse team wins both games in home-and-home series against Ravens

Gaels’ defender Strat Allen tries to chase down Carleton’s Jesse Ambridge in Sunday’s game. Queen’s beat the Ravens 13-8.
Gaels’ defender Strat Allen tries to chase down Carleton’s Jesse Ambridge in Sunday’s game. Queen’s beat the Ravens 13-8.

Despite an ostensibly easy two-game schedule against the far weaker Carleton Ravens this weekend, Queen’s men’s lacrosse found themselves involved in two surprisingly difficult contests.

Queen’s won 14-5 in Ottawa on Saturday and then returned to their home turf for a 13-8 win on Sunday, overcoming a lack of discipline and a string of penalties after a competitive three quarters of play.

In both matches, the Gaels pulled away in the final quarter despite back-and-forth battles for the majority of the games. On Saturday, Nathan Leader’s performance helped Queen’s regain momentum in the second half, netting six unanswered goals to finish the Ravens off. On Sunday, however, it took the Gaels until the last 15 minutes to outpace the Ravens, with strong showings by Torey Kohara and co-captain Matt Denis, contributing a team-high six points each.

“It’s been something the team has always had a problem with, playing a full four quarters,” Denis said.

“But we talked about it between quarters, we played a bit sloppy defensively, and the boys really picked it up in the fourth.” Denis acknowledged that improvements need to be made for the club’s upcoming games against U of T, Trent and McGill.

“I think we played an okay game against Carleton, but there’s definitely room for improvement,” Denis said. “We’d have to play a full four quarters to compete against those teams.”

The Ravens’ Shane Davidson and Tim Bergin presented threats to Queen’s from the point well into the fourth quarter. On the power play, the two connected for four goals and put continual pressure on the Gaels net with powerful shots from 20 yards out.

“We tried to convince the boys to play out on them strong,” head coach Jeff Wills said.

“You always know what’s dangerous on the field and when you get guys like that who are dangerous from another 15 feet it takes a while to really believe that they can score from that far. Again, it’s mental.”

Men’s lacrosse, now at 3-1, is off to one of their most exciting seasons yet. Their remaining schedule, however, will be a formidable test to their successful and well-earned winning streak.

On Sunday, controlling ball possession was essential for the Gaels. The game worked largely in their favour when the Ravens were scrambling on the defensive.

“We have a lot of box players, and there’s a 30-second clock, and sometimes they just go to the net,” Wills said. “We needed to neutralize ball possession and control the clock and we did that.” Although they controlled the ball well, the performance was by no means smooth. “I don’t know if we get lulled into this complacency where we figure this is going to be a walk. It’s a pretty physical game but so much of it is mental too,” Wills said. “It just took a long time to get back into things mentally for us.”

Denis said the weekend performances resulted in points gladly taken, but they come with lessons the team needed to learn.

“We got wins out of them, but we have to focus on strong defense, offense and keeping possession of the ball,” he said. “[It’s] just focusing on playing smart and using our heads.”

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