The Kenyon Lords lacrosse team dropped their second straight game this weekend when they visited the Wittenberg University Tigers and came home with a 13-7 loss, dropping them to fifth place in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) standings.
Entering the game, the Lords and Tigers were tied at 2-2 for the fourth spot in the NCAC. Only four teams are allowed into the conference championship tournament, so the Lords needed a win to be in position to make the NCAC tournament. By dropping this game, the Lords are now one game behind the Tigers for the final tournament spot with three games left in the season and the Tigers holding the coveted head-to-head tiebreaker.
Wittenberg jumped to an early 2-0 lead and the Lords quickly answered back with goals from Josh Galardi ’18, Pierce Kraft ’18 and Jonah Florence ’18. The goals put the Lords ahead by one, just five minutes into the game. They held that lead until 1:05 was left in the first quarter, after which the Lords never got it back. The Tigers scored nine unanswered goals, including three in the second and five in the third period. The Lords added goals from Daniel Maffezzoli ’17, Shay Walczak ’20, Jack Herzog ’20 and Robert Jacobs ’17 to mitigate the damage and end the game with only a six-point deficit.
Goaltender Gabriel Avis ’17 faced a season high of 60 shots but only 20 of them ended up on goal. “The best impact on the field came from defense, specifically my close defense,” Avis said.
Avis’ performance was not one of his best, yet some of that can be attributed to the Tigers’ great shooters and high-powered offense. Reflecting upon his performance, Avis said, “These past few games I haven’t started off too strong and haven’t made the key opening saves.”
Avis has no doubt that he will bounce back, but the NCAC save percentage leader has seen better days, with a season-low of seven saves and allowing a season-high 13 goals.
The entire team seemed to lose momentum toward the middle of the game. The Lords were outshot 15-5 in the second period and 25-1 in the third. While the Lords only ended up with four fewer shots on goals than the Tigers did, they were almost doubled up in total shots 60-34, which, in lacrosse, is one of the greatest indicators of how much one team is controlling the ball and their probability of winning.
Clear attempts were obviously a huge problem for the Lords, as their 10 failed clear attempts, a season high, directly resulted in four of the Tigers’ 13 goals. “We really shot ourselves in the foot with our clearing attempts,” Avis said. “We’ve really focused on that these past few days.”
Hope is not lost for the Lords. The team’s remaining three games are against the bottom three teams in the NCAC, who have just one combined conference win among them, while the Tigers have yet to face The College of Wooster, the Conference’s best lacrosse team. While this is not the end for the Lords’ NCAC dreams, the loss provided a major setback for their goal of playing in late April for an NCAC title.