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Men’s lacrosse team heads to NESCAC semifinals

May 3, 2024

Courtsey of Brian Beard
GOAL STOPPER: The men's lacrosse team advanced to the NESCAC semifinals after winning against Williams College this past weekend.

On Saturday, the third-seeded men’s lacrosse team (11–4; 8–2 NESCAC) challenged sixth-seeded Williams College (9–7; 6–4 NESCAC) in the NESCAC championship quarterfinals at Whittier Field and came out on top with a 14–4 victory. The team is looking to take this positive energy to Wesleyan University tomorrow where it will play fourth-seeded Middlebury College in the semifinals. After losing to Amherst College (10–6; 6–4 NESCAC) in the quarterfinals last year, the team is excited to continue its season this year.

Last season, the team fell on the losing side of many one-goal games. But the Polar Bears have found themselves on the winning side this year. After receiving a top seed in the NESCAC championships—its team goal for this year—confidence in its ability to keep postseason play going was high. Head Coach Bill Mason believes the leading factor in the team’s success involves everyone’s shared drive to play another week together.

“We’ve got seventeen seniors and so reality is hitting that … wow, this [could be our] last week, but … if we win, we get another week together. I’d say we’re going to be tough to beat because we just want to keep spending more time together,” Mason said.

Will Byrne ’24, who was recently named 2024 NESCAC Player of the Year, currently leads Bowdoin in assists and points in the NESCAC. Ethan Barnard ’23 has had his own share of success with his command of gameplay by owning a .607 faceoff percentage. Matt Ward ’23 stands as a top goal scorer and walked away with a hat trick against Williams this past  Saturday.

Attacker Sam Raye Steiner ’26 spoke on his relationship with the graduating seniors.

“I look up to them [all] and each in unique ways.… I would do anything for these guys and I don’t know what more motivation you need than being able to spend more time on the field with them” Raye Steiner said. “They want to keep playing with you and you want to keep playing with them.”

The talent doesn’t stop there. Casey Ryan ’27 stepped up in a big way for the team’s offense after a teammate suffered from a season-ending injury. Ryan ended up adding three goals and one assist to the scoreboard against Williams.

On the other end of the field, the defense was locked down, holding Williams only 30 shots in the game. Williams was only able to score one goal from the first to the third quarter. Nate Ryan ’23 carried the defense by forcing two turnovers out of a team total of 21. Due to the team’s defensive effort, goaltender Robert Hobbs ’25, only took 13 shots on goal, making nine saves and allowing four goals.

Mason commented on how integral the team’s defense was to its victory.

“In playoffs, [the] defense better be leading the charge to win a championship and they did that, which is really cool.… You know the old saying [is] ‘defense wins championships’ … and we want to win a championship,” Mason said.

This weekend, the team will head to Middlebury, Vt. to play Middlebury College (9–7; 6–4 NESCAC).

“[We have to] be confident, leave no doubt and shoot to score.… As we look to Middlebury we’re definitely going to prepare a certain way. I know they’re a physical team. They’re gonna switch off between man and zone [defense],” Raye Steiner said. “We have put in a lot of new set plays the past couple days to try to make it impossible for teams to scout us as we’re … trying to be unpredictable.”

Depending on the outcome of Saturday’s game, the team will advance to the NESCAC championship final against Wesleyan University (13–3; 8–2 NESCAC) or Hamilton College (9–6; 4–6 NESCAC).


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