M. Lacrosse Faces Rough Challenge in Hobart
The Crimson (0-1) and the Statesman (0-1) will both be looking for their first win after opening defeats at the hands of lesser opponents.
In a sloppy game against Fairfield, the Crimson executed few set plays and junior netminder Keith Cynar saw 47 shots. The Crimson fell 13-5 to begin its season in the loss column.
Likewise, Hobart started with an unexpected defeat. In its first game against unranked Army, the No. 12 Statesman lost 13-6.
The Crimson's second game against Boston College, scheduled for last weekend, was cancelled due to snow covered Astroturf. It has since been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 24.
Because of the inactivity at this point of the season, both teams are mysteries to each other and the rest of the college lacrosse community.
Although the Crimson began the season at No. 17 in the Face-Off Magazine preseason poll, they have since dropped out of the top twenty because of a combination of the loss and their inactivity.
Hobart is suffering from the same combination. The Statesmen began the season at No. 12, but the early loss and the slow-melting snow have also caused them to fall out of the top twenty.
With two weeks off since its loss to the Stags, the Crimson are itching to get on the field.
"Hobart is a solid team," junior midfielder Lawson DeVries said. "But I think everyone is ready to step out on to our home field for the first time this season and play. We're pumped."
The Crimson have had two weeks to work on what went wrong in its first loss.
One of the overwhelming weaknesses in the Crimson game was its inability to clear the ball out of the defensive end. With the recent change in the weather, the team has gotten a chance to spend considerable practice time outside and have worked on getting the ball up the field.
"Every time we have been outside this week we have spent at least an hour working the ball out of the defensive zone," DeVries said.
In addition to the movement out of the defense, the team has also been working on various aspects of offense.
In the match against Fairfield the offense set up few set plays and suffered because of it. The lack of motion led to sporadic scoring and only one tally in the second period.
To counter the sluggishness the Crimson also spent the week working on transition offense and their standard plays in the six-on-six formation.
The biggest challenge for the Crimson will be Hobart's strong defense and the team's main offensive weapon, junior attackman Jared Beebe.
Although the Statesmen lost a talented goalie and much of its scoring power after last spring's graduation, the defense returns all four of its starting rotation and has added a couple of longsticks to add depth to the back line.
On offense, the Crimson must stop Bebee, the go-to man on the Hobart offense. The 5-4 Bebee may look small next to his opposing aggressors, but he is a pest around the crease and a constant threat.
"We watched the tapes of their game against Army, and we saw how they limited his shot selection," DeVries said. "As they set their offense up around him, we have to do the same."
With only one game played thus far in the season, another concern for the Crimson is the lack of game time for inexperienced freshmen. Although a game against a team like BC would have been good for seasoning the green underclassmen, Hobart will be closer to trial by fire.
"As a junior I will certainly be looking to step it up a bit and take some pressure off the freshman in the beginning of the game," DeVries said. "I think the rest of the juniors and seniors will be looking to do the same. But they'll be all right, they're a strong class."
The Crimson will need some of this young talent as only one senior returned to the team this year.
The Crimson stick men will take on the Statesmen at 1 P.M. on Sunday.