Sports

Hartford Hawks crush Bears

By
Sports Editor
Friday, March 9, 2012

 

When co-captain Rob Schlesinger ’12 fired home the first shot of the game to put the men’s lacrosse team on top of Hartford 1-0 only 43 seconds in, it looked as if it might be another long day for the previously winless Hawks. But Hartford (1-3) had other plans, controlling the game for the remaining 59 minutes and handing the Bears (1-2) a deflating 20-6 defeat at Meister-Kavan Field Wednesday afternoon.

“We just weren’t ready to play,” said defenseman Sam Ford ’13. “That’s what it comes down to. We weren’t ready to play and they were, and the score showed it.”

The Bears came into the game off a hard-fought defeat against No. 5 UMass (5-0) Saturday that left the team disappointed, but still encouraged by a number of things the team did well. But Wednesday’s performance was a step in the other direction.

“As a coaching staff, we did not do our job preparing the men to play a very good team,” said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90. “We as a staff have to reassess everything we’re doing from schemes to personnel to maybe even the pregame meal. Getting beat like this is humbling.” 

Hartford worked the ball around well and strong passing led to a number of easy finishes from close range. The Hawks’ attack was spearheaded by five goals from Aidan Genik and three goals and two assists from Kevin O’Shea. As the game opened up, Hartford pressed in its transition game, and converted a number of chances on the break.

“We let them run, and they’re a very good transition team,” Tiffany said. “We didn’t do our best to prevent their transition, and letting a good team like Hartford run and gun is going to yield the results we saw.”

On the other end of the field, the Bears again ran into stellar goalie play. UMass’s Tim McCormack made 15 saves Saturday, and Scott Bement turned in a 19-save performance for Hartford Wednesday, with 11 saves coming in the first half alone.

But the Bears were not helping themselves either by turning the ball over and failing to bury a few opportunities. 

“We came out and it felt like a practice almost,” Ford said. “They came out intense and we didn’t and it showed.”

After Schlesinger opened up the scoring for the Bears, Hartford quickly answered back to tie the game, before taking the lead 2-1 on a transition goal from Tate Klidonas. A pair of goals only six seconds apart extended the lead to 4-1, with the second goal coming on an impressive individual effort from the Hawks’ Justin Bentivegna. Bentivegna won the faceoff before sprinting downfield and firing home the score past goalie Will Round ’14.

In the second quarter, the Hawks put the game out of reach, outscoring the Bears 7-2 to take a 11-3 lead at the break. The Bears started the quarter just as did the first, as midfielder Alex Jones ’13 beat Bement with a low shot only 37 seconds into the quarter, cutting the deficit to 4-2. But the Hawks responded in a big way, scoring six in a row to open up an eight-goal advantage. John DePeters ’13 got a goal back for the Bears with four minutes remaining in the half to stop the bleeding, but Hartford answered less than a minute later to cap a one-sided half.

Things did not let up in the third quarter. After letting in three more goals, Round was pulled in favor of first-year Corbin Booker ’15, who was recruited as a midfielder but converted into a goalie in the fall. Booker made two athletic saves in quick succession, but could only do so much to slow down the relentless Hartford attack. Brown scored twice in the quarter with goals from Sam Hurster ’14 and Nick Piroli ’15, but the Hawks closed out the third with three goals to make the lead 17-5 headed into the final 15 minutes.

In the fourth, both teams mixed up their personnel, and the Hawks closed the game out with two straight goals to make the final score 20-6.

“It’s better than having it late in the season, but you never want to have a game like this,” Ford said.

The loss opens up a lot of questions in the young season that Tiffany said the coaching staff must address. While these adjustments may take some time, the Bears won’t have long to wait before they get the chance to redeem themselves as they take on St. Joseph’s (2-3) tomorrow. 

A win in Philadelphia would move Bruno’s out-of-conference record back to .500 and give the team a boost before heading into its Ivy opener at Harvard (2-1) March 17.