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Lacrosse breaks losing streak

By Adam Braff

The men's lacrosse team snapped its five-game losing streak with a decisive 12-7 win over the Merrimack Warriors yesterday. The game, played at Steinbrenner Stadium on a seasonably warm, sunny day, showed that the Engineers are "finally starting to work together," according to Coach Walter Alessi.

With seven new starters, the team had experienced difficulty working together during the recent four-game road trip, but they demonstrated more-than-adequate teamwork in yesterday's contest.

Middie Dave Chang '89 led both teams in scoring with five goals, the first coming just 14 seconds into the game. Chang ran the ball in from mid-field and bounced in a left-handed shot from ten feet out. Merrimack returned the favor three minutes later when Kevin Kisiel bounced in a hard fifteen-footer to even the score at 1-1.

MIT then took charge, scoring three more goals in the first quarter to snag the lead for good. Matt Lee '91 side-armed one goal from the left side, placing the ball low and far to the off-stick side of Warrior goalie Gregory Lawrence.

After Merrimack's Dave Hardcastle was called for a loose ball push, MIT middie Ken Chay '91 fired the ball in close to Stephan Feldgoise '92, who then stuffed it in on Lawrence's high off-stick side. Chay later commented that, although the team didn't play very well, the game was "the start of something big." The same could be said of his go-ahead assist.

The Engineers closed out the first-period scoring by capitalizing on a man-advantage situation resulting from an illegal check by Hardcastle. Chang passed to veteran attack John Buck '89, who took the high feed and slammed it down and in to give MIT a three-goal lead.

The home team had the momentum going into the second quarter, having scored three consecutive goals and having watched Merrimack drop dozens of passes, belying their 4-3 record. In the first minute, Chang and Feldgoise each scored their second goal to make the score 6-1 in MIT's favor.

The Warriors needed nearly seven minutes to strike back, scoring when middie Pete Davis took a feed from behind the MIT goal and bounced in his team's second goal of the game.

Buck was then called for a 30-second offsides penalty. Shortly thereafter, Merrimack's Kisiel wound up and took a hard shot from far out, firing very high, hitting Vassar Street, and nearly breaking someone's windshield. With 7:55 to go in the second period, captain Pat Nee '89 fed the ball to Chang, who drove to the hoop and popped it in from just outside the crease, making the score 7-2 in MIT's favor at the half.

The Warrior coach was visibly upset at halftime, yelling at several of his players and noisily complaining to his squad that "nobody [wanted] to take charge." His analysis later proved correct when his team's third-quarter rally fell short, due in part to a scoring burst by the Engineers.

In the third period, Merrimack actually outscored MIT 3-2. This figure is misleading, however, since the visitors' goals all came at the end of the period. This impotent rally continued into the fourth quarter, with the first two goals also going to Merrimack.

Nonetheless, MIT halted the slide beautifully, with Chang scoring his fifth goal on a close-up shot that went in behind Lawrence's back. Attackman Ed Kim '89 then scored on an open net from five feet out on the left side, catching the Merrimack goalie well out of position. Kim finished the scoring with four minutes left in the game after cutting in on the left side and driving home a pass from Chang in front.

After the game, Alessi commented that his team was "still missing some connections, but the defense played better today," and hoped that the win would be the "start of a winning streak, and not just a stop-gap." Nee echoed his coach's sentiments, adding that he was "glad [they] finally got a win."

"Ken [Nimitz '91] was also a big factor," said Alessi of his relatively inexperienced goalie, "and he came up with the big saves, especially when we needed them." Nimitz faced 21 shots in the 12-7 victory.

The Engineers' next home game is against the Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Wednesday at 3:30.