Last Saturday, the ninth-ranked men’s lacrosse team (7–3; 3–3 NESCAC) lost to No. 6 Amherst College (7–2; 3–2 NESCAC). Amherst scored a goal with nine seconds left in the game, edging out Bowdoin by a final score of 13–12. Bowdoin rebounded on Wednesday with a dominant 22–9 victory against Bates College (1–8; 0–6 NESCAC) and is looking ahead to its games against Trinity College (5–5; 2–3 NESCAC) and Colby College (2–6; 0–5 NESCAC) this week.
Leading up to the Amherst game, the Polar Bears prepared for the Mammoths’ aggressive defense and constant disruptions to their opponent’s offensive systems.
“We focused on passing quickly and getting to our spots early so that we could have more space between us and the defense, rather than allowing them to attack us.” Sam Raye Steiner ’26 said.
The preparation appeared to pay off, as the Polar Bears began the first quarter up 4–1 against the Mammoths.
“We surprised them early on,” captain Zack Goorno ’23 said. “We were getting to the net easily, and their defense wasn’t prepared for the firepower we had on offense.”
Amherst made quick adjustments and managed to stall Bowdoin’s momentum, and the Polar Bears trailed 3–4 at the end of the first quarter. The second and third quarters saw intense back-and-forth from both teams, but Amherst eventually took over in ball possession. By the end of the game, Amherst led 52–42 in shots and had picked up 45 ground balls to Bowdoin’s 29. The Polar Bear defense held strong, forcing 17 turnovers.
“Despite our loss, I think it was one of the better games we’ve played, one of the fullest games you’ve seen so far,” Raye Steiner said. “There were some lulls, but we were pretty consistent throughout the game, playing tough and sticking to our strengths.”
In the middle of the fourth quarter, the Mammoths gained their largest lead of the game and went up 12–9. Bowdoin rallied one final time and tied the game again at 12–12 with three and a half minutes to go.
“Under pressure in those situations, we get really desperate and have a lot of clutch players who do well under pressure,” Goorno said.
Amherst responded by scoring its final goal with only nine seconds left on the clock. Despite the last-second loss, Head Coach Bill Mason emphasized how the team tried to remain positive while also acknowledging where it can improve.
“The game doesn’t always come down to the last play.… There were so many other plays in the game that we didn’t do. We didn’t execute as well as we could have and that culminates into a one goal loss at the end,” Mason said. “But if we can clean up some areas where they are making a couple errors throughout the course of the game, we aren’t in that spot to have to try and win the game at the end.”
The Polar Bears were able to get a better result just three days later in their blowout victory against Bates. Patrick Fitzgerald ’25 led Bowdoin with eight goals, and goaltender Robert Hobbs ’25 made 17 saves in net.
Mason not only applauded the team’s renewed confidence but also its offensive improvements.
“When we watched the [Amherst] film … [the team] realized that they could be a little bit more unselfish and move the ball to more than one guy,” Mason said. “That’s what they did [against Bates]. They made some great passes. As the ball is moving, the goalie has to move, so it makes a better shot opportunity.”
Looking forward, the Polar Bears are preparing to take on Trinity College tomorrow afternoon. However, Bowdoin is also eager to play against Tufts University (10–0; 5–0 NESCAC), who it lost to in the final game of the regular season and the NESCAC Championship last year, later this month.
“Last year, we were undefeated until our last game of the season against Tufts.… It was crushing because at the end of the season, you feel really confident and then you lose big time.” Goorno said. “The benefit of having these tougher struggles early on in the season is that we’ve been able to learn from them. Now, with these close losses, we’re not totally questioning our identity. We know there are just little things we need to fix.”
Bowdoin will travel to Hartford, Conn., to play Trinity tomorrow before facing off against Colby College on Wednesday.
“We know we can win games, we just gotta go and play our style, be confident, play fast. I’m happy to see our team do what they can do,” Mason said.