Home-opener provides lacrosse first win

Gaels ride strong third quarter, tight defence to pick up first win of the season

Lacrosse’s first win of the season came at home against the Trent Excalibur.
Lacrosse’s first win of the season came at home against the Trent Excalibur.

The Queen’s men’s lacrosse team picked up their first win of the season on Saturday at Tindall Field, defeating the Trent Excalibur by a score of 8-6. The game was the Gaels’ home opener after dropping two straight to Carleton last weekend in Ottawa.

Coming off of their losses in Ottawa, head coach Don Tough was extremely happy with the way his team executed their strategy.

“We knew they had a short bench,” he said. “Our game plan going in was to slow down the pace on offence and execute our plays. We wanted to play with a lot of aggression and hold onto the ball as much as we could.” The Gaels certainly followed through on Tough’s game plan, as the first half was a tight defensive battle with each team exchanging very few legitimate scoring chances. Trent jumped out to a 2-0 lead, only to have the Gaels respond with a strong offensive effort in the third quarter.

“Any coach would like to see more goals, but as we execute our plays better, the goals will come,” Tough said.

After some very sharp ball movement around the perimeter of the offensive zone, second-year attack Matt Eriksen made a quick cut to the middle, faked out the Trent goaltender, and scored a spectacular goal that put the Queen’s team ahead going into the final stanza.

In the fourth quarter, Queen’s continued to focus on ball control, limiting Trent’s opportunities to cut into their lead.

Fourth-year goalie, Dan Blackburn said he was impressed with his team’s ability to limit Trent’s scoring chances.

“Defensively, we played very well,” he said. “Alex [Ostojic] had a great game playing both long pole and long-stick (midfield) and this was a very important win for both the standings and team morale.” Blackburn said he was also enthused with his team’s offensive output.

“Offensively, we improved tremendously … doubling our output from the weekend,” he said.

The team now looks ahead to next Saturday when they will take on the McGill Redmen in Montreal. After struggling to a 2-8 record last year, the Gaels have made a commitment to being better prepared in every facet of the game, beginning with an early training camp prior to official tryouts.

“[Training camp] was huge,” Tough said. “It put the 13 or 14 guys who came out … ahead of everyone else.” He said that instilling a culture of constant improvement will produce success.

“We’re doing a lot of things in practice and adding video sessions to improve on our mistakes,” he said. “As long as we continue to execute our set plays, and keep up our intensity, we’ll be fine. This is a very young team so we expect them to grow as players.”

Both Tough and Blackburn were hesitant to say that this win shows that the Queen’s team can compete with the best teams in the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association, but were confident in the potential of their group.

“That’s something that only time will tell,” Blackburn said. “There’s always lots of room for improvement and we’ll take things one game at a time.”

Men’s lacrosse will play the McGill Redmen and the Bishop’s Gaiters this weekend in Quebec.

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