One up, one down for lax

by Beacon Staff • April 11, 2007

Mount Ida has scored 84 goals in four league games alone, all taken as wins.,After coming out on top in a game against Johnson State College on Saturday, the Emerson men's lacrosse team was brought back to reality with a harsh slap in the face after falling 23-4 to Mount Ida College in a North Atlantic Conference game Wednesday.

Mount Ida has scored 84 goals in four league games alone, all taken as wins. Only nine goals have been put past their goalie.

In comparison, Emerson has scored 35 goals, and failed to block 53.

Sophomore goalie Dean Smollar said the game could have been closer if his team had its head in the game.

"Mount Ida has a very talented team," Smollar said. "They're one of the top competitors for the conference, but I think the main thing for us was mental ... Mount Ida has a reputation that precedes them, and we allowed them to live up to that reputation."

Emerson faced a pair of North Atlantic Conference league opponents last week, claiming victory in one of the two games. The Lions lost to Castleton State College last Tuesday, 12-3, but conquered Johnson State College on Saturday 6-4.

Coach Mike Blanchard talked about the keys to winning the game.

"I think that they played our zone much better in the second game," Blanchard said. "Quite frankly, the opponent was not as strong. We were able to exploit more of [Johnson State's] weaknesses."

Senior Nick Pereira acknowledged the fact that his team stepped it up in the second game, both offensively and defensively.

"We changed our offense," Pereira said. "We limited the other team's scoring opportunities."

The Lions took a different offense approach which gave the players a more conservative ball control, Pereira said.

"[Switching the offense] takes pressure off of the offense to go to the cage more," Pereira said. "It confuses their defense more and makes it easier for us."

Blanchard thinks the offensive switch was made a positive impact on the team.

"It slows down the offense a little bit," Blanchard said. "It's more of a possession offense. It allows the team to not have as much pressure on them. Those are all things that help."

There was an evident difference in the way the team performed in the two games.

"In the Castleton game we opened up fairly well and we got out off our defense, out of our offense, and they took advantage of it," Blanchard said. "We tightened it up to finish it stronger. When we played Johnson we went right up 4-1, and then we got out of our offense a little bit, they got some transition goals and then we tightened it back up to put the win away."

Blanchard, Pereira and junior Matt Horowitz all raved about Smoller's play in goal.

"Our goalie Dean is the backbone of the defense, which is the backbone of the team," Pereira said. "If we lost him then we'd be in big trouble."

Smollar was humble about his talents.

"I never really worry about numbers or things like that," Smollar said. "My job is to be the last line of defense so that's what I try to do for my team. If we win games, or keep games close, it's not me who did, it's the rest of my team working hard like they always do. I just do my part."