Author: Emily Daggett
The Men’s Lacrosse Team defeated visiting San Jose State University (SJSU) 7-6 in a down-to-the-wire game on Saturday night at Patterson Field. The Tigers, who led 4-3 at the half, allowed two Spartan goals early in the third but answered with two of their own as the period ended with Oxy leading 6-5. In the fourth both offenses had several good attempts at the goal but were thwarted by Oxy goaltenders Ozzie Baron (junior) and SJSU’s Rob Weigand. Baron, who has had a solid first season starting, had six saves. James Maxwell scored his second goal of the game halfway through the final period off a pass from Tom Sterling (junior) putting the Tigers ahead by two. San Jose answered with a goal several minutes later but the Oxy defense, led by Jesse Roberts (senior), John Fulton (senior) and Ben Brown (junior), withstood the Spartan attack. Both Maxwell and Michael Widmann (first-year) finished the game with two goals while Josh Geleris (senior), Andrew Leede (first-year) and Cameron Kerst (sophomore) had one each.
The victory marked the end of a successful season for the Tigers who finished with a 5-6 record overall and a 3-1 record in their division. Oxy finished the season tied with Biola University for first in the Southern Division B of the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League. The Tigers barely missed a playoff bid as Biola gained the advantage in overall goals scored this season. This breaks the tie and automatically qualifies Biola for the national tournament.
Narrowly missing the playoffs is disappointing for the team, especially because Biola handed the Tigers their only loss in the WCLL. “The Biola game was a real gut check for the team,” Leede said. “We had control of the game and a lead the majority of the time. It was poor fundamentals and lack of focus in the second half that led to our demise and essentially our loss of a playoff spot.” The Tigers fell 10-9 in overtime. Though it was a frustrating loss, the team grew from the disappointment. “After that game the atmosphere on our sideline became much more positive,” Baron said. “We were able to push each other to excel in close games, as opposed to self-destructing.”
The Tigers’ biggest win of the season, against the University of California-Irvine, verified their ability to compete under pressure. “When we played Irvine we put forth a cohesive team effort,” Kerst said. “We all showed up to play and believed in the team that night. It saved the season.” Many players had stand out games. “We played as a team,” freshman Michael Donovan said. “The defense made some huge stops and the offense kept the momentum in our favor.” Baron had an incredible 16 saves against Irvine’s shooters in his best effort of the season. “I guess I was just in the zone,” Baron said. “Probably because I ate a Mojo Bar before the game.” Senior Ben Gobin led the team with 3 goals in the game. “He has really stepped it up this year and filled the role of the big scorer,” Baron said.
The Tigers will graduate six seniors, including Gobin. James Maxwell, Jesse Roberts, Josh Geleris, Jon Fulton, and Andrew Hsu will all be greatly missed. Their leadership and dedication to the team will continue to influence the program in seasons to come. The younger players are already looking toward the future. “Hopefully we can come out hard [next season] and stun everyone in the league,” Baron said. “Oxy has never fielded a team with so much potential ability before,” Kerst said. “We have a great coach in Boz Crowther and we want to make a national impact next season.”
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