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Lacrosse has growing pains

Lacrosse has growing pains

[el1.5]

By Chris Kelley

Time stops for no man, or team; there is no gain of new blood without a loss of old faces; and so on. The real story is that graduation last spring left the men's varsity lacrosse team decimated.

A most peculiar sport by anyone's standards, lacrosse takes years to master and MIT's coach Walter Alessi is looking into the future, far into the future, for the date when this team will be at its greatest potential.

John Griffith '88, playing goal, is oh-so new to his position, but by no means new to the sport. One more year of practice to become a solid goalie, the coach estimates.

Griffith has made some notable saves, but weakness here means that no lead is ever really secure, and undisciplined shooting by opposing forwards may be rewarded.

MIT graduated all of the team's top three scorers from last season, leaving the Engineers to scrap for their points. MIT hasn't always taken advantage of its shooting opportunities, according to the coach. Anyone watching the lacrosse team go after the enemy, though, might have difficulty believing the complaint that they were not aggressive enough.

There are new men on the offensive line as well. Tom Dorf '88 has racked up the most goals so far, despite inexperience playing here. Mike Foley '87, moved up to the offense only recently, is the second highest scorer.

Offense is a very difficult position to master, especially if one has not had high school playing experience.

Playing against Babson April 9, MIT came out of an initially slow start with a string of shots that were right on target. At halftime, the visitors were reeling, their apparent dominance of play unreflected on the board.

Babson relaxed its standards a bit in the second half, taking a lot more shots, a strategy which paid off with a slim victory. The<>

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defeat was a bitter reminder that more experienced teams have a tendancy to outclass opponents, no matter what kind of game is played.

In the midfield, Mike Ambrogi '85, team co-captain and another high scorer, has freshmen Mike Gaidis and Tim Mattox under his tutelage. This position takes at least one solid year of experience to really get on top of, Alessi says.

If the lacrosse squad finds itself on the defensive, there is a saving [el-13p6]

grace to this story. The backup line, those last three players between the offense and the goalie, are all experienced. Jeff Berner G, Rich Rice '87 and Fred Paster '87 guard the Engineer interests here.

It takes some considerable time to get results in this business. In the meantime, of course, one has the opportunity to chase those who might challenge the team up and down the field with a very large stick. If victory is sweet, there is something to be said for the long-term returns as well.

[el8i]