The Wesleyan University Men’s Lacrosse Team knocked off Amherst College in NCAA Division 3lacrosse action on Wednesday, March 29th, 2012 by a score of 6-3. Amherst entered the game ranked 3rd in all of D3, while Wesleyan has been unranked all season, even after their win over then #17 Middlebury last week. Much of the doubt surrounding Wesleyan comes from their 6-5 loss to Bates two weeks ago.
Coupled with Wesleyan’s 9-4 win over Williams to begin the season, this win means that Wesleyan takes him the Little Three championship for men’s lacrosse. The Little Three features Wesleyan, Williams and Amherst, and it is the oldest three way rivalry in college sports. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or HYP started their mini-conference in the early 1900s. The Little Three, back then known as the “Triangular League”, was formed in 1899.
The game was tight early, but in the second quarter Wesleyan scored 4 straight goals to go up 5-1. It was similar to their early run against Middlebury, although in that game, the run took place in the first 6 minutes of the game. Against Amherst, Teddy Citrin netted two of the first 5 goals, and John Froats also added two goals. Both of Froats’ goals came off of passes from Max Landow, and Landow netted Wesleyan’s fifth goal off a pass from Aidan Daniell.
Then the scoring really slowed down for the most part as both defenses played well. Amherst began chipping away with goals in the third and fourth quarters to bring the score to 5-3, but with about 4 minutes left Amherst picked up some penalties, and Citrin added his third of the game to seal the game at 6-3.
The game stats definitely favored Wesleyan, but the single stat that jumps out the most is that Amherst had 14 total shots, and only 8 of those found the net. With Grant Covington in goal, only three of those went in, and Amherst was never able to get rolling offensively. Wesleyan had more than double the number of shots, but was still hampered by poor shot choices and missed opportunities at times. However, when you’re taking risks, that kind of stuff can happen.
If Wesleyan can clean it up a bit more offensively, they seem capable of playing with, and beating, anyone in the country. However, if they don’t knock down their shots and take advantage of enough good opportunities, they can lose to anyone, as the Bates game indicates. Coach Raba seems to have the guys in the right frame of mind though, and the defense plays, at times, like it’s gelled fully, which is impressive considering it’s not even April yet.
Amherst had been in a number of tight games this year, and I’m not that surprised that they lost this game. Their #3 ranking may have been a little too high when you consider how they were winning. But make no mistake about it, Amherst is talented and tough to beat. They pose match up problems on offense, especially if you run pure man to man against them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lord Jeffs rebound and step it up for the rest of the year. Jon Thompson will make sure of that.
With Tufts looking strong but not unbeatable, and a number of other teams looking to challenge, anyone can win in the NESCAC this year. You can definitely add Wesleyan to that mix now, but there is a ton of NESCAC lacrosse left to be played.
Photo credit goes out to Mitch Lieberman for the game photos and Chris Meade of Lacrosserecruits.com for the campus shot.