December 29, 2004

Fall Season Review

Nov. 19, 2004

WORCESTER, Mass. - The Crusaders opened the fall season with a defeat by Quinnipiac, 15-5, on Saturday, Oct. 9 during Homecoming weekend. The Bobcats jumped to an early 6-0 lead in the first five minutes before wrapping up the half at 10-2.

"We played defense for about three-fourths of the game," Head Coach Adam Pascal said. "The team didn't have much success facing off and were troubled by poor clearing and ball handling. The bright spot was 5 for 6 on extra-man and everyone got to play."

A second half score of 5-3, Quinnipiac would show the team would need more work.

"The team didn't give up," Pascal said. "They refused to go down easily. The lesson we learned was we have to practice harder, that when we get off the bus we play to play and not just expect to win." The team was down after so much anticipation, but realized it was going to take an entire team effort for us to succeed."

Leading the Crusaders was junior Billy Klotz (Derry, N.H.) and sophomore Paul LeBlanc (Lexington, Mass.), who each netted two goals. Sophomore Grant Cowherd (Summit, N.J.) scored one goal, while senior Mike McKee (Sloatsburg, N.Y.) added an assist. Freshman Chris Dignes (The Woodlands, Texas) also got his first taste of collegiate lacrosse.

On Saturday, Oct. 13 the Crusaders traveled to New Haven , Conn. for the Yale Jamboree for two games against Siena and St. John's . Holy Cross squashed the Saints, 12-3, in the first game and followed up with a second victory over the Redstorm, 12-3.

The defense was the story of the day for the Crusaders as several players stepped up, including goalies Matt Fallon (Mt. Kisco, N.Y.) and Dave Vafek (Michalovce, Slovakia). Supporting the netminders were juniors J.R. DiCioccio (West Islip, N.Y.) and Greg Kelly (Ashland, Mass.).

"After a couple of back to basics practices we arrived at Yale ready to end the fall season on a good note," said Pascal. "The men were embarrassed by the previous weekend and wanted to prove to themselves they had not worked for nothing."

Several seniors, including Rich Espinal (New York, N.Y.), P.J. Farrell (Commack, N.Y.), Dan Atchinson, (Lexington, Mass.) and Ed Yip (Providence, R.I.) played their `A' game, realizing they would be the players to inspire the team.

With a swarming, doubling defense the ball was on the ground a lot and luckily the Crusaders came up with more ground balls. Senior Derek Lemley (Madison, Conn.) and James Malone (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) both contributed in the midfield with their long sticks, stifling the opponents top threat.

"What allowed us to play so well was everyone being accountable to themselves and their teammates," said Pascal.

Seniors Matt Strief (Cary, N.C.) and Pat Sullivan (Winchester, Mass.), junior Patrick McCurdy (Brightwaters, N.Y.) and freshman Greg Garafolo-Gonzalez (Commack, N.Y.) all had outstanding defensive games in the midfield with their short sticks and also helped the transition offense.

"Offensively we were very simple and just wanted to control the ball, hit the open man and have fun," said Pascal.

In the midfield sophomore Mike Moriarty (Fairfield, Conn.) had a terrific day, showing that he wants to be in the mix this spring. Junior John O'Sullivan (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) was the catalyst for the Crusaders, constantly drawing the long stick and absorbing much of defensive attention.

"John allowed for our other players to excel. He will be a big part of our success this spring. We are looking for others to help lighten his load.

Also contributing to the midfield was senior Pat Hart (Wyckoff, N.J.) sophomores Kyle Gwyn-Williams (Shrewsbury, N.J.) and Cowherd and freshman Toby Banta (Melrose, Mass.).

On the attack sophomore Will Seward (Freeport, N.Y.) made the most of LeBlanc not being able to play and had a breakout day. Along with Seward, McKee handled the ball well and made some great decisions on the field.

"Klotz is adjusting to his rolls as a quarterback of sorts," said Pascal. "He is like a traffic cop for us, directing the action inside while remaining very efficient in shooting the ball. The offense realized that ball control and high percentage shots were the key and executed it well."

The Crusaders were led by O'Sullivan, who scored six goals throughout the day. Moriarty and Seward also contributed heavily at the jamboree scoring five goals a piece. Supporting the Crusaders cause was J.D. Pelligrini (Syracuse, N.Y.) with two goals, while Cowherd, McKee and Klotz each dished in a goal.

Pascal on the Fall Season: "The team took some major steps this fall, realizing that the spring has the potential to be a great season. It has been an interesting couple of months for the team, realizing that more is being asked of them and more needs to be done. The heart of this team is our nine seniors. They seem to be ready to lead, work hard and set a good example for the younger players.

"We have only one goal here on the Mount St. James for the spring, and that is to represent Holy Cross college and ourselves with a tremendous effort every opportunity we get. Hard work and dedication are very much a part of the rebirth of the Crusader lacrosse program."

The Crusaders open the 2005 spring season on Wednesday, Feb. 23, when they host Providence at the Hart Turf Field at 4 p.m.