Mesa men's lacrosse team overwhelms Rockhurst
Adam Borgogelli shrugged his shoulders, cocked his head to the right and turned back to cover the net.
The Colorado Mesa University men’s lacrosse team’s backup goalie, with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter Tuesday night, surrendered Rockhurst University’s first goal when attacker Peter Hummel pushed the ball deep into Mesa’s defensive third and finished with a flick in front of the net.
In the grand scheme of things, it probably didn’t matter, as the Mavericks went on to defeat Rockhurst 21-3. But coach A.J. Stevens, with a chuckle and a grin, said they were aiming for the shutout at Walker Field.
The Hawks are in their first season as a varsity lacrosse program, but they played physically and showed signs of potential, Stevens said.
“We really wanted that shutout, but we were going to do it the right way,” Stevens said. “One of the reasons we wanted to give them a game was because it wasn’t too long ago that we were a first-year program. I was talking to their coach after the game saying that in four years, when these freshmen are seniors, they’re going to be where we are. “So, yeah, we wanted the shutout, but we had a different goalie in during the second half, and we subbed out all our defenders. So, we don’t feel bad about not getting it. We got to play some of our guys, and overall I thought our defense was fantastic.”
Defensively, the Mavericks dominated in the first half. Goalkeeper Brad Brandenburg did not allow a goal and snagged four saves, including two snap saves on top-shelf shots. The first-half defensive squad forced 19 turnovers and picked up 31 ground balls.
On offense, 12 different players scored for Mesa. Daniel Caddoo and Stephen Dunn led with four goals each and Dylan Duresky picked up a hat trick. The Mavericks outshot Rockhurst 53-13 in the game. During the first half, the Hawks had two prolonged possessions. The rest of the time, Mesa possessed the ball.
“I think our level of ball possession is pretty normal for us,” Stevens said. “We’ve got a pretty good group, and we move the ball pretty well. It’s one of our strengths. We’re a pretty darn good group this year, and yeah, the ball movement was great. A lot of the goals I thought five or six guys touched the ball during the possession, and that’s really a pretty thing when we can move the ball like that. I don’t know if pretty is the right word, but our offense possesses very well against most teams.”
The Mavericks will now travel to Florida to play four games in eight days in what might be the toughest stretch of its schedule. CMU, which is 2-0 but dropped out of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association coaches poll after one week at No. 15, will face No. 4 Tampa on March 26.
Stevens said CMU will have to go undefeated to receive a bid to the NCAA Division II national tournament, and he added this tournament will be a good challenge.
“It’s a grind,” Stevens said, “but it’s the way we have to do it out here to get noticed. We need to get games, and the travel can be hard because all the games are out east.”