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Men’s lacrosse defeats Babson College in non-conference action

March 31, 2023

Courtesy of Brian Beard
STICK TAPS: The men’s lacrosse team celebrates after a win against Babson College on Tuesday night. Bowdoin will return to conference play when it faces off against Amherst tomorrow afternoon in Amherst, Mass.

BRUNSWICK— The men’s lacrosse team (6–2; 2–2 NESCAC) held off a second-half comeback against Babson College (5–2) on Tuesday night at Whittier Field and won 13–12. The victory comes after Bowdoin defeated Wesleyan University (5–2; 2–1 NESCAC) last Saturday and extended its winning streak to three games. Bowdoin is hoping to continue this momentum when it returns to conference play tomorrow against Amherst College (6–1; 2–1 NESCAC).

The Polar Bears opened the game with a massive lead. Ethan Barnard ’23 won seven of his first eight faceoffs. The increased offensive pressure paid off as the Polar Bears scored six goals in the first quarter, with Jason Lach ’25 putting four into the back of the net.

“We came out firing on all cylinders, everything was clicking and there were a lot of openings,” Lach said. “It definitely is a big plus to have the best faceoff player in the country. Ethan Barnard is incredible and provides a big spark every game.”

On the defensive side, the Polar Bears held the Beavers to a single goal in the first quarter, a feat that Head Coach Ben Mason credits to extensive game preparation and skillful execution by the players.

However, in the second quarter, Babson was able to slow the Polar Bears’ momentum. Both teams each scored three goals during the second quarter, and Bowdoin led 9–4 heading into halftime.

“I think a lot of teams, after a run like [in the first quarter], get a little complacent,” Sam Raye-Steiner ’26 said. “Babson started playing their positions, executing their plays and using their guys, so they started to come back a little bit.”

Babson opened the second half by scoring four unanswered goals in the first 10 minutes of the third quarter.

“The ball wasn’t moving as well as it was in the first half. We started to get stale on the offensive side,” Mason said. “Babson was playing as desperate as they could possibly play … so it was only a matter of time before they started feeling comfortable [against us].”

The Polar Bears had a breakthrough with fewer than three minutes remaining in the quarter. Pat White ’22 picked up a ground ball for a turnover. Once in the offensive zone, Ollie Bernstein ’24 passed to Raye-Steiner, who shot 14 yards out with less than a second remaining on the shot clock. The ball streaked past the Beavers’ defenders and bounced into the bottom right of the net.

“I remember when I got off the field, and I [was] just jumping, getting my teammates going on the sideline, and giving fist bumps,” Raye-Steiner said. “The energy was palpable. You could feel it in the moment. You could feel that momentum shift happening.”

The Polar Bears built on their momentum with another goal in the final minute of the third quarter to extend their lead to 11–8.

In the fourth quarter, the Beavers rallied and went on a 4–1 run to make the score 13–12 with 52 seconds remaining. The Polar Bears were able to win the subsequent faceoff but were called for a slashing penalty and forced to play the final minute of the game man-down.

“The plan was to run out the clock as much as I could, [but] I knew I was probably going to get double-teamed off the wing given how little time there is on the clock,” Lach said.

Lach was able to run the ball across the field twice before Babson’s double team forced a turnover with 10 seconds remaining, giving Babson a final opportunity to tie the game. However, Bowdoin stayed composed.

“The highlight of the game was [Babson] didn’t score one power play goal … so I had a lot of confidence in our man-down unit,” Mason said. “We figured two players on their team were going to shoot the ball, so we really focused on those guys. Sure enough, as the clock was winding down, those two guys were going to take the shot, so our defense was in a good place.”

White blocked the shot, forcing a turnover and cementing the 13–12 victory for the Polar Bears.

Overall, the team was proud of the result but is also hoping to continue improving upon its mistakes.

“We’re still a young team … and with younger teams, sometimes you’re not sure how to play with a big lead,” Mason said. “But these guys learn from mistakes really well and they do a good job fixing them, and that’s been the theme of this season…. From this Babson game, [the lesson is] how we can play confidently and disciplined with a lead.”

Bowdoin will face Amherst tomorrow afternoon in Amherst, Mass.


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