April 24, 2008

The Big Game

April 24, 2008

Earlier this season, the Holy Cross men's lacrosse team posted a 7-6 win at Yale, good for the Crusaders' first ever victory over an Ivy League opponent. Freshman midfielder Eamon Troy takes a look back at this huge win for Holy Cross.

On February 24th the Holy Cross lacrosse team traveled to Connecticut to take on Yale. At the time we were 1-0 and coming off a good opening game win over St. John's. It was a good feeling to start off the season with a win because we had been working hard in practice and were heading into the season with high expectations. After our win over St. John's the team seemed to gain a bit of needed confidence and the way we practiced heading into that game against Yale felt a little different. Everyone seemed to play with a chip on their shoulders, and the players and coaches seemed to carry a confidence that has been lacking from the program for a while. On the day of the game I noticed that the feel in the locker room was different from any of the scrimmages or the season opener. There was a focus and determination on each of the upper-classmen's faces that really instilled in the younger players the importance of the game. As Coach Pascal brought us in before we went out to the game he talked to us about the opportunity that we had that day. No Holy Cross team had ever beaten Yale, or any other Ivy for that matter, but Coach looked at all of us and said, with complete certainty, that we were going to win that game. That was what we needed. Not to here that we were underdogs or that we had a chance to beat them, he told us that this group was going to be great on that day, and we all believed it.

The game went back and forth for the first half with both defenses playing well. Yale outshot us in that first half and our goalie, Jimmy Harrison, was really keeping us in it. Time after time they were getting shots right on the doorstep but Jimmy made saves that left the players on the sideline looking at each other in disbelief. We went into halftime with the score 3-3, and Coach's speech was pretty similar to his one just before the game. He brought us in, looked us in the eyes, and said, "This is what we wanted. This is our game". The second half was a little more fast-paced than the first, as both teams picked up their transition game. They scored to go up 4-3 and then we tied it up in the fourth at 4-4. We have only four seniors on the team this year, but the fact that these four have been here for four years speaks to how much each of them brings to the team. Senior Toby Banta tied it up at four and senior Tim Redmond did the same at five. Coach called a timeout and I looked at Tim's eyes after he scored that goal and I knew he believed that we were going to pull this out. That look made me believe that he and the rest of the seniors were not leaving that field without a win. Those four seniors put our team on their backs and they won us that game, 7-6. I can't really describe the emotions that go through a team when it does something the program has never done before, but walking around the locker room after the game I noticed no one was taking off their equipment. Some people were hugging, some staring at the ground, and some with their faces in their hands, and I thought that spoke for itself.