The Kenyon men’s lacrosse team opened their season on Feb. 17 with a dominant 18-1 win against the Washington & Jefferson College Presidents.
The Lords commanded both sides of play, tallying 56 shots while holding the Presidents scoreless until the fourth quarter. The Lords controlled the ball for a majority of the game and forced the Presidents to match their speed, hustling to scoop 33 of 40 ground balls and allowing only 14 turnovers to their opponent’s 30.
The previous season was disappointing for the Lords. Their 6-7 record did not qualify for North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) playoffs for the first time since 2011.
“The goal that we set is, at minimal, to go to conference playoffs,” defender and captain Brendan Cowie ’18 said. “This  losing season occurred despite the team’s prolific offense, which averaged over 15 points per game.”
The loss of Kenyon’s leading scorers, Robert Jacobs ’17 and Alex Lopez ’17, leave some potential gaps in the Lords’ attack. Jacobs and Lopez combined for 59 of Kenyon’s goals scored last season. But the Lords have been carrying on successfully without them, with Josh Galardi ’18 and Pierce Kraft ’18 rising to the occasion.
The resiliency of Galardi and Kraft, among others, showed in their match against the Ohio Northern University (ONU) Polar Bears.
Kraft scored early in the first quarter. ONU answered quickly, tying the game only a minute later. This back and forth continued throughout the first half and into the third quarter, during which Kenyon held a 6-5 lead.
It was in the final minutes of the game that Ohio Northern pushed past the Lords to take an 8-7 lead. Kenyon’s Jonah Florence ’18, assisted by Galardi, came through to tie the score, only for ONU to take the lead 9-8 once more with fewer than five minutes remaining. As the time remaining dwindled to fewer than two minutes, midfielder Joe Woody ’19 rose to the occasion with an unassisted goal carrying the game into overtime. Kenyon continued to fight throughout the extra period, finally succumbing to the Polar Bears on a goal with 44 seconds remaining.
“The first two opponents did not test us, but tonight [against Ohio Northern University] we got punched in the mouth,” Cowie said. “The coming game will be a good test of our resolve and intestinal fortitude.”
Hopefully, the experience gained in this close-fought match against a worthy opponent will prove useful to Kenyon’s young roster. The lacrosse team’s 40-man roster features 17 first years and seven sophomores.
The Lords continue their season on Feb. 24 during their home opener when they will face off against Capital University.