Lacrosse takes third straight victory
By Adam Braff
With greatly improved defense and outstanding goaltending, the men's lacrosse team rolled over the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Buccaneers on Wednesday by the score of 16-4. Played at Steinbrenner Stadium, the game marked MIT's third consecutive win, bringing the team's record to 3-5.
The Engineers took just one minute of the first quarter to score on Lorne Berman, Mass Maritime's goalie. Captain Pat Nee '89 sidearmed the ball between Berman's legs from twenty feet out to score the first of his game-high four goals. Three minutes later, middie David Chang '89 took a shot on goal, scooped up his own rebound, and rifled the ball in low on the goalie's off-stick side for his first of three goals. Two other MIT players, attackman Paul Dans '91 and midfielder Phil Kim '89, had hat tricks in the match.
With 8:54 left in the first period, Dans worked the ball left-handed around the back of the visitors' net and bounced it in low and past the left side of Berman, who clearly was not expecting the shot. Dans then assisted on a goal by Brian Luschwitz '89, who cut in front and scored from five feet out. Tallying MIT's fifth goal of the quarter 24 seconds later, Chang bounced in a 30-foot shot from the right to score unassisted for the second time.
The visitors put in their one first-period goal when attackman Bill Donnovan uncorked a high bouncer that slipped past MIT goalie Ken Nimitz '91 with one minute to go in the first. Nimitz had 12 saves in the game, prompting Coach Walter Alessi to remark after the game, "[Ken] has worked very hard and was just great today."
The two teams alternated scoring in the second quarter, MIT striking first when Nee's left-handed shot sailed 25 feet into the top left corner of the Buccaneer goal to make the score 6-1, MIT. Six minutes later, Mass Maritime's Nils Djusberg scored from directly in front of the home net. MIT returned the favor a short while later when senior longstick Mark Olson fed Dans on the right side for an easy goal. The assist was the first of Olson's college career and exemplified the versatility of Tech's underrated defensive squad, which allowed a stingy 29 shots on goal on Wednesday.
The second half started with the score in MIT's favor, 7-2. Once more, Chang scored unassisted with his shallow-angle shot from the right bouncing past Berman. Next, Kim passed the ball in close to the visitors' goal right to Nee, who sidearmed an off-speed shot past the goalie to make the score 9-2 for the home team. Kim scored three minutes later on a hard bounce shot from 25 feet away.
Mass Maritime attackman Djusberg scored his second goal through a screen during a one-man advantage for his team at 7:54 into the third. Nee retaliated for white with a medium-range shot that blew by Mass Maritime's Berman on the stick side. After the Buccaneers' Matt Clifford chipped away at the lead with his only goal of the game, MIT made his effort basically insignificant with its twelfth goal of the game, midfielder Kim cranking in an impossible-angle shot from the left side on a feed from Chang.
With a comfortable 12-4 lead going into the final period, MIT relaxed a bit on offense and concentrated on defending Nimitz's four-goals-allowed effort. Curiously enough, the team's tenacious defense created several scoring opportunities, proving that the best offense just may be a good defense. A holding penalty on Donnovan set up another goal by Kim, who assisted attackman Will Regan '90 three minutes later to give the Engineers a comfortable ten-goal lead.
With 8:20 to go in the game, Nee fed the ball to Matt Lee '91, who blasted a 30-footer past Berman's left side for MIT's penultimate goal. Dans closed out the scoring with a high shot from the right side after a long feed by Nee.
Coach Alessi was obviously pleased with his squad's performance after the game, commenting that "Given seven new starters, it took us a while to learn how to work together ... but the defense is starting to gel and everyone is helping out on offense." MIT's 16 goals were very evenly distributed, coming from six players, none of whom scored more than four times.
Regarding his team's early five-game slump, Alessi astutely noted, "The losses at the beginning were team losses. [Now] we're starting to get team wins." The team appears to be somewhat less enthusiastic than its coach but equally hard working; Chang, for example, commented after his three-goal effort that he is "just playing them one game at a time."
The next home game, on Saturday against Bates at 2 pm, is expected to be quite a challenge for the Engineers. "Bates is a tough opponent, but if we can maintain our level of confidence, we can keep [the winning streak] going," Alessi said.