Men and women off to mediocre start

JUNIOR MIDFIELDER MATTHEW GILMAN CRADLES the ball around a defender. (file photo)

RPI men’s lacrosse started their season with a win against Keene State College at home and a loss to Ithaca College on the road. However, their first Liberty League game of the year came against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers. The teams played on March 10 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The game was tight early on, as the Engineers took a 6–5 lead early in the second quarter thanks to two goals each by sophomore attackmen JT Kelly and CJ Kigar. But then RIT scored four consecutive goals and finished the game on a 9–3 run. The Tigers won 14–9. Kelly tallied four goals, while Kigar got three. Senior attackman Breanainn McNeally assisted on three goals, and both junior attackman Zach Lukas and junior midfielder Oliver Kaija scored their first goals of the season. Senior goalie David Gibbs arguably had his best game of the season thus far, saving 21 of 35 shots that came his way to help keep the game close.

On March 16, the Engineers traveled to California to face the Whittier College Poets. This time the Engineers outscored the Poets 10–3 in the first half in route to a 16–9 road victory. McNeally scored a whopping eight of Rensselaer’s goals and assisted on two more, including senior midfielder Jake Weidner’s third goal of the afternoon. Lukas followed up his impressive showing against Rochester with another great game against Whittier, scoring two goals and dishing out two assists.

Next up for 2–2 men’s lacrosse is a road game at Montclair State University today, and a home game against Bard College on Saturday at 1 pm.

RPI women’s lacrosse started their season with an opening day 9–5 win against the State University of New York at Oneonta. But then they lost two straight to Williams College and Montclair State University heading into spring break. During break they traveled to Florida to take on Roger Williams and Denison University.

In the first game, against Roger Williams on March 13, Rensselaer scored the first six goals of the game and took a commanding 9–2 lead midway through the second half that the Hawks could not come back from. Senior attacker Sophie Hager scored three goals and assisted on freshman midfielder Casey Clarke’s second goal of the season. Sophomore midfielder Abbey Salvon scored twice, the second of which was RPI’s ninth and final goal of the game.

Roger Williams didn’t score until almost 19 minutes had gone by in the first half. RPI quickly responded after that score with a goal by senior midfielder Carly Kirchner assisted by sophomore midfielder Maddy Aslansan, which put the Engineers up 7–1 at the half. After the Engineers scored two of the first three goals in the second half, the Hawks rallied to the tune of four consecutive goals, but it was too little too late as the Engineers hung on for a 9–6 win.

In the second game, two days later, it was Denison that took an early lead with the Engineers fighting from behind the entire afternoon. Denison scored the first five goals of the game, all in the first ten minutes of play. Then, junior attackers Allie Claroni and Hager each scored to cut the deficit to three. Hager scored once more in the first half and once early on in the second half to keep Rensselaer within arm’s length of the Big Red. But then Denison scored four more unanswered goals to open up a 12–4 advantage. The Engineers fought back, scoring four unanswered goals of their own, two by Claroni to make the score 12–8. But the Big Red were simply too much to overcome, and RPI lost 13–8.

Following spring break, women’s lacrosse went on the road to face number one-ranked Middlebury College on March 21. Rensselaer struggled to keep the undefeated Panthers out of their net, allowing four Middlebury goals in the first two minutes of the game. The Engineers improved their defense following the early onslaught, but could not stop the potent Panthers attack. The Engineers also struggled to score. Claroni scored two goals and Hager scored once and assisted on one of Claroni’s goals, all in the first half. The Panthers held RPI scoreless in the second half, though. The final score was Middlebury 17, RPI 3.

Next up for 2–4 women’s lacrosse are home games against RIT and the University of Rochester on March 31 and April 1, respectively.