Bobcats split against Denver and Air Force; Notre Dame awaits
By Sam Friedman
April 15, 2008
Playing in the altitude of Colorado is tough on any player for any team in any sport. This is particularly true in lacrosse, where physical play combined with a lot of running and — for the Bobcats this past weekend — two games in three days equals a tired road team in many cases.
In fact, it was so cold in Colorado that Friday night’s game against Denver was played with snow flurries coming down on the players thruought the contest.
This time however, the story was different. The Bobcats men’s lacrosse team won the second game on the Colorado double header, an 11-10 win in overtime over Air Force after losing to Denver 14-8 Friday night.
Against Denver the Bobcats fell behind 4-0 in the opening quarter. Pioneers freshman Jamie Lincoln scored his first from Kyle Widerstedt just 51 seconds in, shooting the ball right outside Benzing’s crease. In all the outstanding freshman scored 6 goals against the Bobcats, recording his “first” hat trick with 6:58 remaining in the 2nd to put the Pioneers up 6-1, and got his second hat trick of the game as the seconds ticked down that made the score 14-8.
Teammate Cliff Smith also recorded a hat trick for the Pioneers, scoring his first with just one second remaining in the 1st and his third in the 4th quarter which made the score 12-7. For the Bobcats, only Todd Kaiser recorder a hat trick, scoring all of his goals in the second half, including the Bobcats final goal.
Goalie Kevin Benzing gave up 14 goals and stopped only 11 shots, while the Pioneers gave all three of their goalies playing time at some point in the game.
Against Air Force the Bobcats got off to a better start. Down 5-4 at halftime, they put five shots past Falcons goalie Woody Johnson to take a 9-7 lead after 3 quarters, but found themselves down 10-9 with just over a minute to go when the Falcons scored on the man advantage.
But Bill Hayes tied the score at 10 from a Messina pass with just nine seconds remaining in regulation, shooting it past Johnson’s left side about 10 yards out. In overtime, the Bobcats’ own Todd Kaiser added onto his hat trick from Friday, scoring his first goal of the game when it counted. He took a Poerio pass past Johnson on the right post with 1:40 remaining in overtime.
Kaiser had just three goals coming into the weekend, but more than doubled it to seven after the weekend.
“Playing in the high Colorado altitude is always tough,” head coach Eric Fekete said. “We just got caught off guard against Denver. The last 3 quarters (against Air Force) were dead even. I just think you can see the confidence coming back to the team.”
Garret Kerr, the Bobcats leading goal scorer, scored just once the entire weekend. He has 16 goals on the year.
The Bobcats are now 1-2 in conference play, 3-2 on the road and 7-3 on the year. Up next is powerhouse Notre Dame, currently ranked 13th in the nation’s Inside Lacrosse poll and 10th in the USILA coach’s poll. Notre Dame is 1-1 in conference play, while Denver moved to 3-0 to tie Ohio State for first and Air Force is 1-2, tied with the Bobcats.
“They’re a good team,” Fekete said of Notre Dame. “There’s always some intimidations, some respect to be given to Notre Dame, but I’m more worried about how we play, and less about how they play.”
But Coach Fekete is unconcerned with the Fighting Irish’s ranking.
“Arguably the league (GWLL) could put three teams into the tournament, but it’s been such a crazy year in lacrosse that which three teams make it could change at any time,” he said.
After the visit to South Bend the Bobcats return home to face currently winless Bellarmine in Hamden on Saturday the 26th. Game time is 1pm.
NOTES: Denver also won the face-off battle against Quinnipiac, 18-7, who lost it to Air Force just 14-11. … Jamie Lincoln added another hat trick over the weekend for 35 goals on the season. He is 5th in the nation in goals. … All 19 of Quinnipiac’s goals came during even strength. After holding Denver to 0-2 on the man advantage, they gave up 2 goals to Air Force on 3 man advantage opportunities, and gave up one man down goal.