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Men’s lacrosse continues win streak against Colby and Bates

April 12, 2024

Courtesy of Brian Beard
LAST DRAW: The men’s lacrosse team celebrates during a home game. The team has recently won against Hamilton, Bates and Colby and will take on other NESCAC opponents in the coming week.

The men’s lacrosse team has been on a win streak jump-started by defeating Hamilton College (6–5; 3–5 NESCAC) on March 30, followed by wins against Bates College (3–9; 0–8 NESCAC) on April 2 and Colby College (5–6; 1–6 NESCAC) on Wednesday.

After these victories over teams ranked at the bottom of the conference, the team plans to play confidently against a string of competitive opponents, starting with Williams College (6–5; 4–3 NESCAC) tomorrow and Amherst College (7–3; 4–2 NESCAC) on Monday.

The first half of the Hamilton game was back-and-forth, but the Polar Bear defense shined in the third quarter, holding the Continentals back while the offense went on a 4–0 run to cement the 15–8 win. Jason Lach ’25 led scoring with four goals. Though he credited all levels of the defense for the win, he thought the offense had fun moments too, highlighting a goal by Alex Byrne ’26 assisted by his brother, Will Byrne ’24.

“Will Byrne and Alex Byrne connected on a goal … and Alex plays defense and Will plays offense. So it was pretty rare. And it was Alex’s birthday the day before.… There are some plays … that make you smile,” Lach said.

Such bonding moments are critical to the team’s confidence and success. The team used this positive energy to recover from a disappointing loss to Babson College (10–2) on March 26, whom Bowdoin had beaten for its last six match-ups. According to Head Coach Bill Mason, the team has had to reorganize its defense after the season-ending injury of Patrick Fitzgerald ’25 on March 16, who led the NESCAC in goals per game last year.

Also recovering from injuries is Ethan Barnard ’23, the top faceoff player in the NESCAC. Faceoffs occur after each goal or at the start of a period, allowing the team with the superior faceoff player to play “keep-away” by getting a chance to get the ball back after every goal. Mason emphasized the importance of the position.

“Having the superior faceoff guy a lot of times puts you in a spot to win games. You’re that team if you’re winning, let’s say 60 percent in the faceoffs. You’re more than likely [to be] winning that game to some extent,” Mason said.

On April 2, Bowdoin held off Bates with a narrow 16–14 victory. This time, the offense powered through to build a 12–6 lead by the middle of the third quarter, but Bates nearly caught up in the best performance of its season. Along with four goals by Will Byrne and five by Lach, Barnard returned to play to win 22 of 33 faceoffs.

Mason was proud of the way his players battled through adversity to keep up with their academics while holding out on the field, which was even more difficult with a string of road games.

“We were able to win some of these games while we’re still trying to put it together. And so, I think, our story hasn’t been written yet. It’s all gonna come together and come together at the right time,” Mason said.

Lach also identified numerous elements that could make this season their best one yet. The team has experienced and inspiring upperclassmen as well as talented underclassmen, with both offensive and defensive leaders. After a disappointing season last year to follow up the program’s best year in 2022, Lach believes the team has the mindset to make another deep playoff run.

“[Last year] we were 11–5 and it was a good year, but it wasn’t as good as we were expecting. And I think we were a little frustrated with ending our season a lot earlier than we wanted to,” Lach said. “This team knows that you have to earn it and … we really want to … make a deep run in the playoffs.”

Mason focuses on the quality of the team dynamic and each year, he makes team wristbands with messages inspired by the players to help the team have a common mindset.

“This year … on our wristband, we have ‘one percent,’ which just means every day we’re just looking to improve one percent,” Lach said. “It’s not just a growth mindset approach … [but says] that each day we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

The Polar Bears have turned one percent a day into a reality, already cruising past Colby College with a 25–5 win on Wednesday, dominating with their largest margin of victory in 47 years. Bowdoin will play Williams College tomorrow on Whittier Field.


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