The men’s lacrosse team has welcomed their biggest recruiting class this year. Last year’s team boasted talent, but it lacked numbers, had an overall record of 3-11 and was 0-6 in Liberty League play. With the influx of freshmen, the team this year has managed to improve remarkably, already doubling their win total with a record of 6-8, 1-4 in Liberty League play. The team this year has had a tough schedule, playing against four ranked teams so far.
The team first dropped a 14-5 non-league game on Wednesday evening against NESCAC powerhouse Williams College. Freshman Sam Houston-Read was phenomenal for the Brewers and scored a hat-trick, including goals in the second, third and fourth quarters. These were his eighth, ninth and 10th goals of the season. Senior Max Herman scored his 130th career point for the Brewers, after he scored off a man-up opportunity with an assist from junior Sean Brazier. Herman also had another assist. Freshman Matthew Altman scored for the Brewers and fellow high school teammate freshman Liam Moriarty had two assists. Senior goalie Andrew Nicol had nine saves out of 23 shots on goal.
The following Saturday, the team traveled to number nine nationally-ranked Union College for their second to last Liberty League matchup of the season. This was also their final away game of the year. Despite a hard fought game, the men left with a 19-7 loss.
Herman had two goals and Moriarty had the lone assist for the Brewers. Freshman Chris Billups had his first collegiate goal, while fellow freshmen Brandon DeStasio and Gianni Gelornino also scored along with junior Scott Brekne. Nicol was strong in the net, making 16 saves off of 35 Union shots on goal.
While these last two losses have been disappointing, the season has been bright for the young Brewers. They have shown strong improvement in just one year. According to Brekne in an emailed statement, this has been partially thanks to a strong team dynamic and knowing how to work. “We get along great as a team. Our dynamic has been work hard play hard, knowing when to roll up our sleeves and when to relax.”
According to Brandon DeStasio, the last game was a battle. “We started off pretty well. Union scored first and then we tied it up. Then Union went up by two and we came back and scored again,” he wrote. “We battled in the beginning but then we let the game get away from us. We ended up losing 19-7.”
Over spring break, the team competed against SUNY Cobleskill. “They were playing far better than they were last year. They improved a lot,” said spectator sophomore Erik Halberg [Full Disclosure: Erik Halberg is a reporter for The Miscellany News]. “That was the game that Max Herman broke the all time assist record at Vassar. The team got really excited. They went sprinting around the field to pull the record ball out of a snow bank.”
He continued, “Their defense was really strong. Andrew Nicol in goal…if anything went past him, it was just by chance.” Their final score was 21-5, one of their largest margins of winning in program history.
This year has been a more successful year for the Brewers than the past few. It’s been all about improvement and hard work in order to help pile on the wins. The team’s win percentage last year was .214, and now they stand just shy of breaking .500. Brekne has been incredibly proud of the way his team has been performing so far. “Quality of play has been good. We have shown a lot of improvement this year by getting to the six win mark and are looking forward to getting our 7th this Saturday vs Clarkson.”
One of the highlights of this season has been the strong performance against Liberty League opponents. This year, the League is incredibly tough, with three top ranked teams: number nine Union College, number 20 St. Lawrence University and number one Rochester Institute of Technology. But the team managed to pull out their first League win of Brekne’s career. “Beating Skidmore this year is a memory that will always stand out in my head. It was the first time in my career that we beat a Liberty League opponent.”
“The Liberty League is known as one of the top two leagues in college lacrosse and our hard league schedule made us a better team in the end. We beat Skidmore for the first time in school history, and Saturday vs. Clarkson is big for us,” explained senior Drew Nicol. “Getting to two league wins, finishing in 5th place, and setting the school record for wins would be a nice ending to the season. We were able to improve so much from last year because of the hard work and focus from all the players.”
He continued, “We carried our strong work ethic from the offseason into our preseason. We fought unfortunate weather early on, and continued to work hard.”
According to junior Jesse Hartman, “I think some of the teams in this league are incredibly talented, and there were many points in the season that we played extremely well against our opponents. Beating Skidmore was a historic win for us.”
With the Skidmore win behind them, the team has a very specific goal for their last remaining game. They play Clarkson University at home on Senior Day this Saturday. Brekne is optimistic about their prospects. “We have one game left and we are very confident that we are going to get the win over Clarkson at home for senior day.”
The team hasn’t just had a banner year on the field: off the field, they’ve worked hard too. This year, the men’s lacrosse team has launched a fundraiser in order to raise money for the National MS Society. The team decided to dedicate their 2014 season to Nicol’s mother Debra Nicol as she continues to fight Multiple Sclerosis. The team has raised over $500 so far. They’ve sold orange (the color of MS awareness) bracelets with burgundy lettering that say “DN XXII” and “Cure MS.” According to DeStasio, “We dedicated the season to her, and to fundraise, we have been selling bracelets throughout the season.” He continued, “They are available at every home game through Andrew Nicol or Scott Brekne.”
The XXII is Nicol’s jersey number and has been his entire athletic career, but it is also a dedication to his mother, as it is her birthday. The bracelets are available at every home game this season. They are also available by emailing Brekne at or Nicol.
Brekne had nothing but praise for Nicol and his family’s contributions to the team and is proud to honor Nicol’s mother this season. “We put together a fundraiser this year for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in honor of our teammate and co-captain’s mother. Both our captain and his family have made a huge impact on our program. It is something that we wanted to do to say thank you to them and show our love as a program for the entire family.”
Come support the Brewers this Saturday at 1 p.m. on Senior Day at Gordon Field against Clarkson.