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As playoffs raise the stakes, hopes are high for men’s lacrosse

April 19, 2018

Sam Honegger
In the bag: The men’s lacrosse team faces off against Colby on April 11. The team lost a close game, with the final score being 8-7. The team looks to finish the season strong after losing two NESCAC games in a row.

After two consecutive losses this past week snapped an eight-game win streak, the sixth-ranked men’s lacrosse team (8-4, NESCAC 4-4) is more focused than ever as they head into tomorrow’s game against Williams (7-6, NESCAC 5-3).

This past Saturday, the Polar Bears lost 8-12 to Wesleyan (10-2, NESCAC 7-1), who is tied for first in the NESCAC. The prior Wednesday, the team fought a close match against Colby (5-6, NESCAC 2-6), in a game that ended with the Mules winning 8-7.

Reflecting on the team’s performance, Coach Jason Archbell believes the game’s result came down to basic mistakes, rather than a lack of ability.

“I think a lot of it comes down to fundamental errors,” Archbell said. “I think that’s been hurting us. Both teams played really well against us and … are good teams, so it is certainly good for them, bad for us,”

Despite their recent losses, the players remain optimistic going into Saturday’s ‘senior night’ game.

“I think definitely coming off this past loss, we’ve got some more fire underneath us and I think especially this senior day we want to leave out everything we can on the field,” said Henry Savage ’21.

For Matthew Crowell ’18, the last two losses have served as a way to help the team recalibrate and regain their focus.

“We were riding the wave of an eight-game winning streak and we are trying to get back to working hard and showing up each day to practice. If anything, I think it has grounded us a little bit more,” said Crowell.

Apart from the usual pressures of the impending playoffs, the team has also faced an increase in concussions this season.

“Even if the guy feels fine the next day, we have to go through the protocol because these things are really serious and [can] be really dangerous,” said Archbell.

As the team gears up for the last two games of the season, Archbell has been rewatching past games and plays with the players to see how they could improve. In addition to the Polar Bear’s previous games, Archbell also looks at their opponents’ past performances as he plans.

“Understanding what the other team is doing or going to do and practicing—that is really helpful in your preparation for the game,” said Archbell.

Nonetheless, he also notes the game really comes down to the team’s dynamics.

“In the end it is always going to be about what your fundamentally supposed to do as a team,” he said. “It always comes down to: what am I supposed to do as a Bowdoin Polar Bear in a situation?”

For Savage, despite their loss, last week’s game served as an indication of the team’s progress and as a source of hope for playoffs.

“No one showed any worry. Everybody was fighting till the last second, which I think bodes well for us going into the playoffs,” said Savage.

With the season coming to an end, these next two games will be decisive. Out of the eight teams competing, only half can host the first game and if Bowdoin wins on Saturday, the team may have a chance to host the start of NESCAC playoffs.

The team will face off against the Ephs in the final regular season home game on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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