Jackie Hart ‘19
The Holy Cross Men’s Lacrosse team finished its 2019 season Tuesday evening at West Point, New York, with a fall to #18 Army West Point Black Knights, 14-5 in the Patriot League quarterfinals. The Crusaders’ tournament appearance was only their third in program history after finishing the regular season at 7-6.
The Crusaders jumped to a 2-0 lead early, with senior Drew Babiak capturing his 18th of the season at 13:40 off a pass from first-year Will Spangenberg. Spangenberg cradled around the net before pulling out and making a short pass to Babiak up top. Babiak wound up and fired a low shot right past Army goalie AJ Barretto.
At 10:35, Army’s Johnny Surdick took a 30 second penalty for pushing, giving Holy Cross the man-up advantage. With one second remaining in the penalty, Holy Cross junior captain Sean Mullaney threaded a shot between two defensemen, sinking a goal to the bottom corner. After Mullaney put the Crusaders up 2-0, the Black Knights responded with three straight to jump ahead and snag the lead at 3-2.
After Army’s third goal, junior faceoff Dan O’Connell scrapped the ball to the Holy Cross zone, picked up by senior Will Murphy who set the Crusaders up in their offensive end. Scouting the scene, the Crusaders passed around just inside their zone. Finally, junior attack Justin Lynskey ran straight from the faceoff circle past several Army defenders and lobbed a shot just outside the crease to even up the game. With 32 seconds left in the quarter, Army struck again to end the first quarter up 4-3.
Opening up the second quarter, Army jumped to a 5-3 lead, with Nicholas Garofano posting his first of three on the afternoon. 30 seconds later, Mullaney answered with his second of the game, assisted by junior attack Connor Waldron. After passing around outside, Lynskey looked to drive but was blocked and forced to pass laterally to Waldron. Waldron also eyed the goal, but quickly passed laterally again to Mullaney who fired in the goal.
Mullaney’s goal would be the last for awhile for the Crusaders, as the Black Knights went on to score nine straight through the second half. Holy Cross got the last word though, as Babiak scored his 19th and final goal of the season, unassisted, with 1:48 left in the game. Babiak fought his way through defenders before diving and earning the last mark of the game.
Holy Cross graduates seven seniors and three managers who have made invaluable contributions in their four years with the program. Defensive midfielder Jack McKenna played in 41 games throughout his career, earning 13 caused turnovers while fellow defensive midfielder Kevin Hannan played in 27 games with 16 caused turnovers. Long-stick midfielder Will Murphy, who played his freshman season at Skidmore, played in 39 games in his three years as a Crusader, and finishes his career with 103 ground balls and 44 caused turnovers. Ben Marchand, also a LSM, appeared in 26 games in his career, ending with 14 ground balls and eight caused turnovers. Defenseman Matt Farrell saw action in 43 games, with career totals of 76 caused turnovers and 168 ground balls, as fellow defensemen Liam Ryan saw action in 15 games with eight caused turnovers and six ground balls. The sole senior attacker, Drew Babiak, completed 34 contests, finishing with 35 goals and 11 assists for a career total of 46 points.
The seniors also include Evan Kachris and Alec Oropall, permanently sidelined by injuries, and Teddy Pacheco who served as manager for three years. These three remained an integral part of the program both on and off the field.
This season, the Crusaders saw four players receive Patriot League Honors, the most ever for the team. Farrell was named to the First Team, the first time for any Holy Cross player in the history of the program. Additionally, Mullaney, O’Connell and junior Kevin Kodzis were given second-team accolades.