Men’s lacrosse puts up wins
With an 11-4 win over Medaille College of Buffalo, N.Y., the men’s lacrosse team continued to roll this week, while first-year Ian Holljes picked up NCAC Player of the Week honors for his performance in a 2-1 spring break run.
Medaille scored first in Wednesday’s game on the Oberlin playing fields, but the Yeomen quickly came back to take the lead and dominated from there, never trailing again in the game. Defensemen Ryan Silakoski and Max Braun shut down Medaille’s top two scorers, while junior Nate Beckett (2), sophomore Will Jaffee (4) and first-year Bryan Harfenist (3) all had multiple goals. Among the Yeomen goals were a two-man shorthanded goal and the first of the year for first-year Ian Mark.
The win improved the team’s record to 4-3. After starting the season 1-2, the Yeomen have picked up steam to win three of four.
The Yeomen’s recent run of success began when they started their spring break in exciting fashion, pulling out a 5-4 overtime victory against Misericordia College in Dallas, Pa. on Saturday, March 27. After three tightly-contested quarters, Misericordia took a 4-3 lead late into the fourth quarter when a clear by Silakoski fortuitously went right to Harfenist, who beat his defenseman and put the ball in the goal for the equalizer. In overtime period, the Yeomen lost the faceoff but managed to strip the ball. After a Yeomen timeout, Holljes lost his man and beat the goalie one-one-one for the game-winner.
Even after scoring the golden goal, Holljes said that the deciding factor in the low-scoring game was defense. “No question. I think that we worked really hard and the defense kept us close enough that we could pull it out in the end, because the offense wasn’t producing as much as it should have.”
The defense was particularly effective on the penalty kill, not allowing Misericordia a single score in 10 chances with the man-advantage. Penalty-killing has been a strength for the Yeomen all season; going into Wednesday’s game they led the NCAC by killing more than 75 percent of their penalties.
If a team is killing a lot of penalties, though, it can limit scoring opportunities. Such was the case in Oberlin’s game at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. on March 31, as the Yeomen gave their opponents 12 power play opportunities while only having two man-advantages themselves. In addition, the Yeomen’s early man defense was exploited by Guilford’s top attackers and by the time they switched to zone, they were already in a hole on the way to a 16-9 loss.
But the Yeomen rebounded in last Saturday’s game against Neumann College in Ashton, Pa. The first half was a tight, defensive affair, with Neumann carrying a 2-1 lead into halftime, and it remained close through the third quarter. But Oberlin broke away in the fourth quarter as part of a nine goal second-half output en route to a 10-6 victory.
Holljes contributed a goal and five assists to round out a week in which he had five goals and seven assists to earn Player of the Week in the conference. Entering Wednesday’s game against Medaille, Holljes led the conference in points per game with 3.67.
Next up for Oberlin is conference opponent Wittenberg, this coming Wednesday at home. Wittenberg comes into Dill Field with a record of 2-7, but the Tigers overpowered the Yeomen to the tune of 15-4 in a game in Springfield, Ohio earlier this season. After their recent run of success, though, the Yeomen are ready for anybody.
“Forget the last loss to Wittenberg,” Braun said. “Treat them like anyone else and don’t put them on a pedestal.”
The Oberlin Review sports editorial staff contributed to this article.