The men’s lacrosse team defeated Wesley to earn the title of Pennsylvania Athletic champions on Saturday, April 27, by a score of 6-3. The Cavaliers have also earned the first automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.
“We were the no. 1 seed in the [PAC tournament],” Steve Colfer, head coach of the men’s lacrosse team, said. “We were the favorite team and the defending champs going into the game. The pressure was on.”
According to Colfer, the team responded well to the pressure and defended the title successfully.
“This was by far the biggest game of the season and we knew we were going to win,” TJ Fairlie, freshman lacrosse player, said.
“We went out and played with our hearts and won a game,” Mike Piccoli, sophomore men’s lacrosse player, said.
The members of the lacrosse team went into the championship game with a win in mind. “All season our goal was the PAC championships. We knew it was ours if we played for it,” TJ Fairlie, freshman, said.
Although the team played hard as a whole, Antonio Masone was individually recognized for his efforts as a goalie. With 14 saves for the game, Masone earned the Most Valuable Player award. “It was very surprising to me. I wasn’t expecting it,” Masone said.
The Cavaliers have played Wesley in the finals for the past three years, so they knew it was going to be a tough game. “The game was pretty tight and we usually blow teams out,” Piccoli said.
In order to prepare, the Cavaliers had some opportunities to see the other teams in the PAC tournament, according to Colfer. They scouted them, watched tapes and changed some things. The Cavs also thought about the game in which they played Wesley earlier this season.
“They have a zone defense and we didn’t move the ball well the first time [we played them],” Piccoli said. The team learned from their mistakes and knew what they had to do in order to win.
Even though the team knew they were going to win, they worked way to hard all season to not go out and give it their all in the championship. “We practiced every day since Jan. 18 to prepare for this game,” Brandon Lawler, junior, said. “This is one of the best games that I’ve played since I’ve been here.”
The whole season, the Cavaliers prepared for the championship game and when it finally came, an overwhelming rush of adrenaline spread through the team like a wild fire. “Even days before the game, we were pumped. After we won, it was just nuts,” Fairlie said.
The team has to come down from their high and face Stevens Tech on Wednesday, May 1. “We know we have to blow out Stevens Tech to get a better seed in the NCAA tournament. If we beat them, we have a better chance to knock someone off on top and get a better seed,” Fairlie said.
The NCAA tournament starts for the Cavs on Wednesday, May 8. “We are a first time entrance into the tournament,” Colfer said. “We are going up against some teams that have been there before so we’re going to get a lower seed. We are going to give our best, play hard and hopefully surprise some people.”