Emerson defends the den

by Beacon Staff • March 29, 2006

It was also just what the team got Thursday when it beat Norwich in this year's rematch.

With help from four goals from sophomore attacker Matt Horowitz and sound goal-tending by freshman Dean Smoller, the Lions defeated the Cadets 6-1 in the first game of the year.,Redemption was something the Emerson men's lacrosse team had wanted since they had been blown out 23-2 in last season's opener against Norwich University.

It was also just what the team got Thursday when it beat Norwich in this year's rematch.

With help from four goals from sophomore attacker Matt Horowitz and sound goal-tending by freshman Dean Smoller, the Lions defeated the Cadets 6-1 in the first game of the year.

"It's big for us," said Lions Head Coach Scott Dupuis. "Last year, they really handed it to us."

For many on the team, the game was not just the first of the season, but the first of their collegiate career. The team includes nine freshmen this year.

Dupuis said it was important for his players to get into game action.

"We got a lot of our first-game jitters out," he said. "That feel of intensity you have to experience."

Despite the influx of new players this year, it was a familiar face that propelled the Lions to victory.

Horowitz had five points, scoring four of the team's six goals and also adding one assist.

Horowitz said he believes there are still things to be improved upon.

"Our offense has to have better ball movement," he said. "And I think our clears can get a little more crisp."

Freshman Chris Collins agreed.

"We need to continue to work on our stick skills," said Collins. "We need everyone to work perfectly."

Still, Dupuis seemed satisfied with his team's effort.

"We did most things pretty good," Dupuis said. "It's really just the fundamentals. We kept our composure a little better than they did."

Perhaps Norwich's composure was affected because of the off-the-field issues they were dealing with. Three of their starters did not play because they were serving suspensions. The exact reason for the suspensions is not known.

Even so, the Lions performance was impressive. The team made it 1-0 on an unassisted goal from freshman Zander Hartung with 4:47 left to go in the first quarter. Midway through the second quarter, however, Norwich tied it up.

That was as close as Norwich would get. Minutes later the Lions, with a man advantage due to a Norwich penalty, went up in the game for good. Horowitz scored the first of his goals on a pass from Collins to make it 2-1.

That was the score at halftime, but Horowitz and Collins were just getting started. In the third quarter, Horowitz scored twice more-once unassisted and once on an assist from Collins-giving him a hat trick.

Three minutes into the fourth quarter, Collins assisted on Horowitz's fourth goal. Finally, as icing on the cake, Collins scored a goal of his own, on a pass from junior attacker Jeremy Walters, making it 6-1. The game was over; redemption was sweet.

Collins said he felt no pressure in his first game.

"I was pretty relaxed," he said. "I felt pretty confident coming out here."

While the team is off to a strong start, its real test will come during upcoming Northeast Athletic Conference (NAC) games. It is a team's record within its conference that determines how far it will go.

Horowitz was confident about the team's future.

"We've got a completely different team, a completely different plan," he said. "We're going to surprise a lot of people this year."