Lax Thoughts: Big Games This Week
By Zach Smart
The Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team has been hungry for a marquee victory against a top-tier program since the University invested $1 million in a glitzy turf field. It was a logical and successful move for a team moving into a more competitive, big-schools conference.
Quinnipiac ditched the lowly America East and jumped into the Great Western Lacrosse League in 2006. The home turf certainly worked to the ‘Cats advantage throughout the 2006 campaign.
As far as the promising victory, it’s tough to determine when Quinnipiac will get the monkey of its back. In the talent-laced GWLL, every game is a critical one and Erik Fekete’s club (0-3 in GWLL action) is yet to register their first league win this season.
Though they’ve played the league’s top teams in Air Force, Denver, and Ohio State, the Bobcats are in serious need of two victories against in-state foes Hartford and Sacred Heart this week. After starting off 3-5, the last thing they’d want is to undergo a free-fall.
The game at Hartford should be an exciting one for the Bobcats. Not one of the players on the roster have ever experienced an under the lights battle on this level. It’s an opportunity to have the momentum-pendelum swing back in their direction. Snapping a three-game skid would instill confidence as the school’s blood-rivals from 15 minutes down the Merritt Parkway await them Saturday.
The Bobcats have aspirations of putting their program on the same boat as baseball, the spring sport which has always been given the torch to carry for the University.
Let’s not forget, however, that the Bobcats turned many heads last year. They went 7-2 at home, including a solid 12-9 win over Butler before a jam-packed (and pretty impaired) crowd on May Weekend. Those home victories, however, were the only wins they registered as they concluded the season with a 7-6 overall record. A sweeping of the in-state foes shouldn’t be a challenge after laboring through the meat of the GWLL schedule.
There’s one game plan the Bobcats can be sure to buy into: Get the ball to Mike, and let him go to work.
Mike Stottler, after being sidelined for the entire 2006 campaign, has emerged as the gunslinger. Stottler leads all scorers with 27 points on 16 and 11 assists. He was expected to shoulder the burden of scoring leader last season, before the injury occured.
The keys were instead handed over to then-seniors Sean McBride and Josh Murray, a Cheshire product who was picked by the Boston Cannons in the Major League Lacrosse Supplemental Draft.
As a redshirt senior and go-to-guy, Stottler needs to be cooler than Snoop Dogg under pressure these next string of games.
He’s played second fiddle to guys like McBride, Murray, Eddie Morley, and Eric Trama throughout his career.
Now it’s his turn.