Men#039;s lax struggles early

by Beacon Staff • March 26, 2008

Unfortunately, the Lions just couldn't seem to put the ball in the net.

The Lions played rough against a tough Johnson State College team which was playing its first contest of the year, leaving many players on the turf after a number of ferocious hits.,The Emerson men's lacrosse team had almost everything going for it on Saturday at the Field at Rotch Playground-punishing hits on defense, strong goal tending and plenty of energy.

Unfortunately, the Lions just couldn't seem to put the ball in the net.

The Lions played rough against a tough Johnson State College team which was playing its first contest of the year, leaving many players on the turf after a number of ferocious hits.

Like in many of their previous games, goals were hard to come by for Emerson as they fell by a score of 9-5 to the visiting Badgers of Johnson, Vt. A loss to Mount Ida College on March 25 dropped the team's record to 1-9 (0-3 in the North Atlantic Conference) for the season. The Johnson State game marked the sixth time this season the Lions failed to score more than five times.

After the game, Head Coach Michael Blanchard said he has seen improvement in the team lately, but that there were still many hurdles to clear.

"The most frustrating part is that I can see we're getting better," Blanchard said. "We did things today better than in any game prior. But at the same time, we didn't play so well in other areas. We need to do everything well at the same time."

After starting the season 0-7, the team finally picked up its first win of the year last Friday against Norwich University. The momentum did not carry over, however, as Emerson dug itself into a 7-2 hole at halftime against Johnson State. Despite their best efforts at a comeback, the Lions never got closer than 8-5 in the loss to the Badgers.

The poor start represents a step back from last season, when the Lions posted a respectable 5-7 record.

The Emerson team is young, with nine freshman and five sophomores on the 22-man roster. However, Blanchard insists that experience is not the core issue for his squad's struggles.

"It's not youth. It's a confidence issue," Blanchard said. "We have a lot of talented athletes and a lot of good players in that locker room. But it's hard to play to your potential if you're not confident."

Freshman attackman Joshua Anderson, who is tied for the team lead with six goals this season, said that the high number of new players has made the early part of the season difficult.

"We need to solidify as a team and play team-oriented lacrosse," the print journalism major said. "Once we get going, we'll be a better team."

Even with the rough start, things have been improving for the Lions. While the first four losses of the year were all by double-digit margins, the team has kept games competitive since the start of league play.

Anderson said that although goals have still been scarce, he thinks the team's offense has been better than it was when the season began.

"We're transitioning the ball better and getting more people involved in the scoring," Anderson said. "We're just still not capitalizing enough on offense."

Ultimately, though, Blanchard said that no amount of practice will be able to fix the root of the Lions' struggles-the team would have to find the answers for themselves.

"We really do work hard; I have no issue with the effort," Blanchard said. "They play hard, and they honor the game with the way they compete. It's all about getting these young men to believe in themselves."