By Esteban Bachelet | Sports Assistant
Alex Lopez ’17, a midfielder on the Lords lacrosse team and a victim of the latest stomach virus to hit campus, started his Saturday afternoon vomiting into a toilet. He was carrying a trash can over to his bed and watching an online live stream when he saw his teammates showing signs of giving up a four-goal advantage against Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU). So Lopez got dressed and sped down to McBride Field, arriving on time for the start of the fourth quarter.
As OWU led 8-7 with 2:09 left in regulation, the Lords pushed up field for one final surge. Lopez — whom announcers christened “Mr. Clutch” and was the recipient of last week’s North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Player of the Week honors for his late-game heroics — briefly overcame his illness to smash the ball into the back of the net to level the score at 8-8 and send the game to overtime. Then he vomited again.
Despite Lopez’s guts, the Lords yielded a late double-overtime goal that gave OWU the 9-8 victory in a game that could have tipped either direction.
Head Coach Doug Misarti lauded the Lords’ resilience, especially down the stretch, but also stood firm by the possibility that his team could have won if the game plan had been followed to perfection.
The Lords fought hard but were prone to some zonal marking lapses and execution issues on offense, a point especially important considering that the film review revealed some weaknesses in the Battling Bishops’ style of play. Misarti praised the Lords’ progression this season, and Lopez echoed Misarti’s words.
“We’ve definitely improved since Spring Break by doing a lot of work outside of practice time,” Lopez said.
Having taken OWU, now 8-2 overall and 3-0 in the NCAC, to double overtime, the Lords can feel pretty good about their chances against tougher competition. The Lords are 4-2 in games decided by one goal so far this season.
“If it’s a close game, if you just get one more shot on cage or one more play executed better, then you are going to win the game,” Lopez said.
At one point, the Lords led the Battling Bishops 7-3 with about 12 minutes left in the third quarter. Caleb Florence ’14 had a hat trick, while Zach Arlia ’14, Trey Trudell ’16, Jack Fraser ’15 and Fritz Waine ’15 all added one goal apiece to power the Lords offensively. The Battling Bishops roared back to take the lead before Lopez’s heroics kicked in for a third time this season.
“I go out with a basic set of goals before the game and hopefully achieve them, but I am not trying to look for the opportunity [to score the late goal],” Lopez said. “I try to do my job with the system that the coaches put for us. I’ve been lucky to get clutch goals.”
The Lords faced Denison University, arguably the toughest competition thus far, last night. The Big Red is ranked No. 4 nationally and has a perfect 11-0 record. Despite this, the Lords felt confident they can hang around and snatch victory.
“Anyone can be defeated,” Misarti said before the game.
Unfortunately, the Lords fell to Denison 2-23. They look to find the winning ways again on Saturday when they host Hiram College.