Men’s lacrosse off to fast start with 5-1 overall record

The Lakers have scored double-digit goals in every game this season except for their most recent one, a 6-5 overtime loss to Ithaca College on Tuesday. (Jessica Bagdovitz | The Oswegonian)
The Lakers have scored double-digit goals in every game this season except for their most recent one, a 6-5 overtime loss to Ithaca College on Tuesday. (Jessica Bagdovitz | The Oswegonian)

The Oswego State men’s lacrosse team has gotten off to a stellar start to the 2013 season, as it currently holds a record of 5-1 overall. The Lakers won their first five games of the year before suffering their first loss at the hands of Ithaca College on Tuesday.

Coming off their first winning season under third-year head coach Ryan Martin, the Lakers are now setting their sights on advancing to the postseason. Oswego State is also trying to avoid a collapse similar to last season, in which the team started off 7-0, but went just 1-6 the remainder of the season.

Senior captain and attacker Casey Balzer said the team is past last year’s struggles, but still has not forgotten.

“This year we have the mentality that we’re a completely different team,” Balzer said. “With a new team this year, we won’t repeat the same thing this year.”

Offense has been the key to the Lakers’ early success, as they have scored double-digit goals in all but one game this season, which was their 6-5 overtime loss to Ithaca. Balzer leads the team in goals with 14, and has scored four goals in a game twice this season and three goals in another.

“This is some of the best lacrosse I’ve ever played,” Balzer said. “I’m very confident going into every game. My coaches have taught me a lot along the way and I’ve improved so much since I’ve been here at Oswego.”

Sophomore attacker Cody Hoose sits right behind him with 13. Hoose holds the team lead in assists and points, with 12 and 25 respectively. He went on a tear in a three-game stretch between March 9 and 15, scoring three goals and at least two assists in each game.

Oswego State’s defense has also been stout, as the team has not allowed more than eight goals in a game, and has held opponents to six, four and three goals in their last three games.

The Lakers were originally scheduled to open the season at SUNYIT on March 1, but the game was postponed. Oswego State began the year on the road against Utica College on March 6, a game in which the Lakers won 10-7.

Oswego State would follow that up with their lone home game to this point, a 10-8 victory over Adrian College on March 9. After a 13-8 win over Elmira College on March 13, the Lakers had their best performance of the season in the rescheduled game against SUNYIT on March 15. Oswego State’s offense exploded for 19 goals, and the defense held the Wildcats to just three scores.

The Lakers would notch another victory on March 20 with an 11-4 takedown of Misericordia. That was the final win of the team’s winning streak to open the season, as Oswego State’s next game was the loss to Ithaca.

The Lakers will play their first conference game of the season on Saturday at The College at Brockport. They will return home for their first conference game at Laker Field on April 6 against SUNY Plattsburgh at 1 p.m.

If the Lakers are successful in the six conference games they play this season, they will have the opportunity to advance to the SUNYAC Championships, which begin on May 1.

“We have the potential to go even further than the SUNYAC tournament and the NCAAs,” Balzer said. “We’re excited about the opportunity we have.”