Men’s Lacrosse Club falls just short of advancing

The George Mason Club Lacrosse team went from winless to 9-5 in just one year, and came up one game shy of reaching the 16-team playoff field after losing the play-in game to George Washington over the weekend. (Steven Hascher)

Needing to win against George Washington in order to advance to the 16-team nationwide playoff field, the George Mason Men’s Lacrosse Club lost 11-9, despite leading 8-5 earlier in the contest.

“I thought that we had the game in the bag,” sophomore team captain John Grady said, “and it was just a matter of waiting out the clock.”

By the time the clock ran out, however, the Colonials of GW had overtaken the lead.

“We got a little complacent, but GW also started possessing the ball on offense and taking good shots,” Grady said. “And their defense stepped it up in the fourth quarter.”

The Patriots had their chances to close the door on the Colonials, a team that finished third in the conference in regular season behind Mason.

“I will never forget missing two shots right on the doorstep early in the game,” Grady said.

Junior midfielder Corey Clark was involved in five of the team’s nine goals by contributing three goals and two assists, including the first two goals of the game. Clark’s fellow midfielder, Chris Peterson was involved in three of the club’s goals as well, with two goals and an assist.

“We knew the defensive midfield wasn’t their strength,” said Clark about his game plan with Peterson. “So every time we touched the ball we had a green light to score, and we had three of the first four goals of the game. Everything was going well for us early.”

Clark attributes the team’s drop-off late in the game to the rainy conditions as well as the defense being unable to make the necessary adjustments as the game progressed. The Hoyas switched their offensive scheme during the game to one the Patriots were unfamiliar with.

“I never got the feeling anybody was letting up the intensity,” Clark said. “Things just weren’t going our way, like my shots that usually go in started missing and our defense wasn’t communicating.” 

Clark’s primary regret from the contest is that the first line of the offense and defense didn’t stay on the field long enough. They subbed in and out as much as possible to stay fresh, which he feels may have worked against them.

“We gave up two or three transitional goals because we were subbing at the wrong time,” Clark said.

Though losing is never easy, especially in an elimination game, this is a team that did not win a single game one year ago. Under the new leadership and filled with new talent, this year they finished second in the Division II Capitol Conference with a record of 9-5, and had the chance to reach the field of 16 if they had won their play-in game. They even led most of the game before losing the momentum down the stretch.

Moral victories aside, the loss means the squad is done competing for the season and must begin to look forward to next season. Nearly the entire roster will be returning and the club members will have more big-game experience.

“Next year we look forward to expand on our success from this year and make a run to the national championship,” Grady said.

Prior to this season, the returning club members recruited hard on campus to find anybody who was interested in participating. Although they will continue to do so next year, they like what they see for the future in terms of both talent and chemistry.

“In the final two weekends, players stepped up to fill their roles, and we truly won games as a team instead of just talented individuals,” Grady said.



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