Lacrosse fields first action

Gael Christian Rice (2) scoring his third goal of the afternoon this past Sunday. Despite Rice’s efforts, the Gaels fell 10-6 to underdog Carleton Ravens in their season opener.
Gael Christian Rice (2) scoring his third goal of the afternoon this past Sunday. Despite Rice’s efforts, the Gaels fell 10-6 to underdog Carleton Ravens in their season opener.

The Golden Gaels men’s and women’s lacrosse teams showed their skills this past weekend as the women played a preseason tournament and the men kicked off their seasonal campaign.

The women’s team managed an impressive 3-1-1 record at the Early Bird Tournament in Toronto on Saturday. The men’s team was less pleased with their season opener as they fell to underdog Carleton 13-6 on Sunday afternoon.

The women’s team was undefeated against the four Canadian teams they faced, winning three games and adding a tie.

“It went very well. Our offence was really high-powered and everyone worked really hard,” said Head Coach Brendan Sweeney, who also happens to be a member of the men’s team. “Our offence was especially dominant against Guelph and McMaster, and I was very happy with our work ethic.”

The only loss the women suffered was against Niagara University’s NCAA Division I team, and Sweeney was also excited by the effort his team put forth in that match-up.

“It was good to see that we can play with them, with such a high caliber team,” he said.

The season ahead looks promising. Sweeney emphasized that every player on the team has proven themselves at a high level in other leagues, and that the women’s team boasts a good mixture of youth and experience.

The women have three new graduate students who joined the team this year, and some very talented rookies, notably Ruth McArthur, Kaleigh Ross and Hillary Goldspink.

The tournament appears to have been a great confidence-booster for the team.

“It went really well, our plays were working really well,” Alexis Maddaloni, the Gaels’ second-year goaltender, said. “The team’s gelling well.” The men’s team found themselves saying quite the opposite after their opening-day loss to a much-improved Carleton team.

“The team hasn’t gelled yet,” lamented Sweeney, this time commenting as a player. “We have as much talent as anyone, but we had the wrong attitude today.” Goaltender Mike Cattie echoed these sentiments.

“We were thinking it would be easy,” Cattie said. “We thought we’d won when we showed up. They just beat us. They executed, we didn’t.” The Gaels began the game impressively, taking an early 2-0 lead on a goal by Mabby Mwanaganze and an own-goal by the Ravens when a defender passed the ball back to his goaltender and it slipped into the net.

The Queen’s defenders looked strong and began the game winning the physical side of the game, but the Ravens soon took control, scoring the next three goals to take a 3-2 lead early in the second quarter.

Queen’s benefited from strong goaltending by Cattie that kept the score as close as possible. The Gaels trailed 5-3 at halftime,, thanks in part to Cattie and to some gritty defensive efforts, as well as a courageous goal from Christian Rice, who took a beating getting to the front of the net for the shot.

Queen’s started the second half with a bang when Rice scored his second goal after receiving a lovely pass from Mwanaganze. However, that was as close as the Gaels would come. The Ravens took control, scoring the next five goals to take a 10-5 lead. Carleton clearly won the battle for possession while Queen’s found it hard to set up in the offensive zone.

“Our possession was bad. The whole game is about possession,” Head Coach Jeff Wills said, after the game. “We’ve got the talent, we just weren’t patient.” The Gaels would add two more goals, as Matt Clare scored to finish an impressive passing play and Rice found the back of the net to complete his hat-trick.

The players, who expect to challenge Bishop’s University for the title of best team in the East, were visibly unhappy with their performance, but believe things will improve quickly.

“We didn’t play a team game,” Sweeney said. “This isn’t one-on-one, it’s 10-on-10. Nobody is happy with this performance.” “We’ll learn from it, we’ll improve,” Cattie added.

Queen’s has three more games before their highly anticipated showdown with Bishop’s on Oct. 16 at home.

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