Jackie Hart ‘19
Led by junior attackman Justin Lynskey with four goals and one assist, the Holy Cross men’s lacrosse team took down Navy 12-9 last Saturday afternoon for its first Patriot League win of the season. Along with Lynskey’s four goals, juniors Kevin Kodzis, Connor Waldron and Sean Mullaney each added two apiece. Senior defenseman Matt Farrell earned Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts with five caused turnovers and five ground balls, for a running season total of 28 caused turnovers. Farrell currently leads the Patriot League in caused turnovers per game and ranks second in Division 1 with a 3.11 average. “We had a long break between our game versus Brown and Navy,” said Farrell. “As a team, we needed to clean up some things and really polish our offensive and defensive schemes. Coach Burke and the rest of the coaches put us in a great position to win and had us physically and mentally prepared for Navy.”
The Midshipmen opened the scoring at 12:39 in the first quarter to gain their only lead of the game before the score was quickly evened with a goal from first-year attackman Will Spangenberg, faking a pass from the outside before easily sinking the shot at the 10:07 mark. With 1:00 remaining in the first, Lynskey nailed his first of the game from up top off a pass from senior attackman Drew Babiak.
Waldron got his first of the game at 7:28 of the second quarter, along with another Babiak assist and Lynskey goal. Despite Holy Cross efforts, Navy outscored the Crusaders 3-2 in the second quarter which sent the teams into halftime tied at 4-4.
Babiak opened up a four-goal third quarter for the Crusaders when he found the back of the net at 13:58 to put his team back on top 5-4. The Midshipmen evened it again, before being answered by Mullaney’s first goal of the contest and Lynskey fending off a defenseman and finding the top corner of the net to complete his hat trick. Reeling from two straight Navy goals, Kodzis fired a shot from way outside at 2:10 to send Holy Cross into the final quarter with an 8-7 lead.
Entering the fourth quarter, Kodzis picked up right where he left off, giving the Crusaders a 9-7 lead at 13:59 off a Spangenberg assist. The two teams went back and forth for three scores, with Navy almost catching up before Lynskey shut it down, scooping up the rebound of a Babiak shot and finding the back of the net before Navy goalkeeper Ryan Kern could even get back on his feet. Waldron added the finishing touch with 41 seconds left in the match to seal the deal and send the Crusaders to victory. “It was awesome getting our first Patriot League win against such a strong team like Navy,” said Lynskey. “Our offense moved the ball very well and our clears have improved so much which attributed to the victory.”
This Saturday, the Crusaders travel to Easton, Pa. to face the Lafayette Leopards for a 12:00 p.m. league contest. Lafayette is currently 0-4 in the Patriot League and 4-7 on the season, giving Holy Cross a key opportunity to get another victory and keep rolling towards the Patriot League Championship. “Lafayette is an excellent team who always gives us a great game,” added Farrell. “ A great week of practice and working hard will put us in position to be successful against Lafayette and will give us the confidence we need moving through the rest of our opponents.”
The season so far has had its share of ups and downs for the Crusaders. Although Navy was their first Patriot League win, pitting them at 1-3 in the conference, Holy Cross has proved their skill and stamina against other powerhouse teams, including double overtime wins against both Harvard and Brown. The latter concluded with a mere 1.2 seconds left in the match before Babiak struck gold to send the Crusader crowd crazy. Although these victories were exciting and momentous, they did not add points to the efforts of the Patriot League Tournament. With four games remaining in the regular season, including Turnpike rival Boston University, each minute becomes more critical in clinching a playoff spot. “With four games left on the schedule, we are treating each game like a playoff game,” said Lynskey. “The goal all year has been a Patriot League Championship, so we need to finish the regular season strong and earn a playoff spot, starting with Lafayette on Saturday.”
You can follow along the Crusaders’ crusade to the playoffs by heading to GoHolyCross.com for links to the game broadcasts on the Patriot League network and live stats.