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League opponent too tough for lacrosse

By Adam Braff

The men's lacrosse team began their 1989 season with a close loss to the Babson Beavers by the score of 12-11 last Tuesday. The defeat came after a successful road trip in California over spring break, where the Engineers proved that West Coast teams are no match for practitioners of the hard-nosed Eastern style of play.

Tuesday's match, unfortunately for MIT, was against another Eastern team, one with solid passing and stickwork ability. Although the Engineers dominated the Pilgrim League last year, winning the championship with a 6-0 league record (9-5 overall), they were unprepared to face up to a league opponent.

"The competition on our California trip was easier," Coach Walter Alessi said, "and we failed to adjust to the playing level of our league [on Tuesday]."

The home sticks dominated early, winning the face-off and scoring twice in the first two minutes. Paul Dans '91 scored with a hard shot from the right side, drawing first blood for the Engineers at 1:20 into the first. Half a minute later, Matt Lee '91 whipped a perfect underhand shot between the legs of the Babson goalie after a feed from Phillip Kim '89. Kim led both teams with four assists on the day.

Babson tied up the score within two minutes with shots that just passed MIT goalie Ken Nimitz '91 on his high off-stick side. But the home squad reversed the momentum right away when Jeff Feldgoise '91 bounced in a hard shot unassisted. The remainder of the first period was unremarkable except for numerous interference calls, most going MIT's way.

The second period was marked by slightly higher scoring, each team tallying three more goals. John Buck '89 cut in close to the net, took a feed from Kim, and slipped the ball in to increase MIT's lead to two. Just 20 seconds later, captain Pat Nee '89 was knocked to the ground and from a prone position somehow got the ball off to middie David Chang '89. Chang promptly scored with a hard shot from thirty feet out, putting him on his way to the game's only hat trick.

Babson retaliated with one goal before Brian Luschwitz '89 executed a perfect give-and-go with Nee, making the score 6-3 in MIT's favor. The visitors chipped away at the three-goal deficit, scoring twice to make the score 6-5 between halves.

The Engineers dominated early in the second half with the erratic judging of umpire Jim Stowell temporarily falling in their favor. An unnecessary roughness call on Babson's Trevor Jacques landed him in the penalty box for two minutes after assaulting MIT's Lee. The Engineers capitalized on this at 3:25 into the third when Nee cut in front and fired in the first of his two goals.

After Babson scored twice more, Luschwitz side-armed a perfect feed to Nee, who then bounced the ball in from 25 feet out on the left side. Babson's Eric Deehan finished the third-period scoring with an unassisted goal after working his way right up the middle of the MIT defense.

Starting the fourth quarter with an 8-8 tie, MIT fell prey to a quick scoring attack from Babson and several poorly-timed calls from the officials to make up for their previous lapses. With four quick goals in three minutes, the visitors managed to put the game just out of reach of the Engineers, who, to their credit, refused to give up.

MIT's last-ditch effort to tie up the game fell short, with the slick combination of Kim and Chang coming together twice to give the Engineers two more goals in the final quarter.

Coach Alessi refused to fault his team's conditioning for the late collapse, explaining that Babson "simply executed better than we did." He lamented MIT's numerous dropped passes, observing that they "had a chance to win it, but had trouble with ball handling." For tomorrow's game at Curry, Alessi expects a tough confrontation. "We have a lot of new people; hopefully the experience will make us a better team," said Alessi.

The game against Curry is the start of a four-game road trip. The Engineers next play at home on April 20 against Merrimack College.