Coming off a two-game hot streak on the road, the men’s lacrosse team is preparing for success in its first home contest of the season this weekend.
After defeating in-state rival Sacred Heart 14–6 on Tuesday night, the Bulldogs (2–1, 0–0 Ivy) headed back to New Haven to prepare for their matchup against the No. 17 Fairfield Stags on Saturday at 1 p.m. While this will be the Elis’ first regular season contest at Reese Stadium, the Bulldogs have already played two scrimmages at home. Fairfield has been ranked inside the top 20 since the beginning of the season and plays a similar style to the Bulldogs, so Saturday’s game should be a close matchup.
“There’s always an added element of excitement playing on our own turf, especially when it’s the home season opener,” team captain Mike McCormack ’13 said. “The team is definitely excited to open up at home against a great opponent in Fairfield and, like every game, we expect it to be a grind for all four quarters.”
After losing 9–2 to Hofstra on Feb. 26, the Stags (3–2, 0–0 ECAC) boosted their offensive output in their next contest against UMBC to down the Retrievers, 14–9.
One challenge the Elis face this week is limited practice time. With a Tuesday game against Sacred Heart, the Bulldogs have had less time to focus on preparing for Saturday’s game against Fairfield.
But mid-week games give the team an opportunity to balance the lessons learned from practices and games, according to the Bulldogs.
“Midweek games can be tough because they limit the amount of preparation we have for a different opponent, but they are good in the sense that they allow us to have more game experience heading into the weekend,” McCormack said.
Despite the shorter practice week, the Bulldogs try to make the best of the limited time they do have by homing in on the errors revealed during the previous game.
Face-off specialist Dylan Levings ’14 battled against the Sacred Heart’s Stephen Kontos, the No.6 ranked face-off man in the country, on Tuesday and took 11 of 24 face-offs.
The Bulldogs are approaching perfection on the attack. With goals coming from five players against St. John’s, six players against Albany and eight players against Sacred Heart, the Elis have increased the number of players that are contributing to the offense every game. In addition, a total of nine of the 14 goals against the Pioneers were assisted, indicating a strong team effort to put the ball away.
“As always, we’re just working hard to get a little bit better everyday, in every aspect we can. That’s our main goal,” attackman Kirby Zdrill ’13 said.
McCormack added that key to the Bulldogs’ success over the entire season will be effective practices and the team’s reliance on its experienced coaches.
“The coaching staff does a great job breaking down game film and incorporating certain drills into practice that will put us in the best position to win,” McCormack said. “Fairfield is a very solid team on both sides of the ball, so I’m sure that the coaches will be busy all week formulating a proper game plan.”
The Bulldogs will face off against the Stags at 1 p.m. at Reese Stadium this Saturday, March 9.