Men’s lacrosse enters season with playoff expectations

Junior Matt Palmer controls the ball during a men’s lacrosse game. Oswego State is 1-1 to start the season. (Photo provided by Sports Information)
Junior Matt Palmer controls the ball during a men’s lacrosse game. Oswego State is 1-1 to start the season.
(Photo provided by Sports Information)

The Oswego State men’s lacrosse team opened its season on Feb. 25 and is looking forward to a successful 2014 season.

The Lakers’ first match was played a day earlier than planned at Ithaca College, due to feared weather complications. While they missed the snow, the Lakers had to play in cold conditions and dropped the opener, 18-7.

The Lakers struck first, scoring off a shot by junior captain Cody Hoose. However, Ithaca retaliated quickly, scoring the next four goals.

The second quarter did not bode well for the Lakers, as they allowed 17 Ithaca shots, leading to nine goals, which gave the Bombers a 12-2 halftime lead.

However, the Lakers picked up their play in the second half, netting five more goals. Junior Matt Palmer recorded a hat trick in the second half, while junior Torry Whitcher and sophomore Jimmy Cordon each recorded their first goals of 2014.

Despite the improved offensive play in the second half, the Lakers’ defense could not stifle Ithaca’s offense, which netted six in the second half, bringing its game total to 18.

“It didn’t go the way we hoped,” head coach Ryan Martin said. “It’s so early in the season, it’s gonna benefit us and I know we’re gonna learn a lot from it.”

The Lakers evened their record with a 13-8 win over SUNYIT on Saturday. The Hoose brothers continued to pace the Laker offense, with younger brother Brady tallying a hat trick and Cody generating the assists.

Senior goaltender Bryan Martin allowed five goals and recorded 11 saves in the win. He split time in the net with freshman goalie Wyatt Russo, who allowed three goals and tallied six saves.

Oswego State has high expectations for this season, according to Bryan Martin, who said the team is on the rise.

“We’ve gotten more competitive all around on all positions,” Martin said.

The Lakers have continuously improved over the past four seasons, having a strong season last year when they finished with a winning record of 8-7.

The team was close to clinching a spot in the SUNYAC tournament, but were handed three heartbreaking overtime loses near the end of the year.

The team enters this season with a simple motto: “Consistent improvement to consistent success.”

“Our goal hasn’t changed,” Ryan Martin said. “We’ve come close the last couple of years, but as always, we’re playing to qualify for the SUNYAC tournament. We need to be playing our highest level of lacrosse by the end of the year so we can compete in the SUNYAC tournament and ultimately compete for the conference championship.”

The Lakers’ starting goalie echoed his coach’s ambition.

“It would be great as kind of a four-year build up to it,” Bryan Martin said.

The Lakers offense has improved over the past couple of seasons. They have continually scored more goals than in previous seasons and have improved statistically in controlling areas of the game, including faceoff win percentage and goals against.

The work is just beginning for the Lakers though. After a rain delay on Wednesday, they will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to New Jersey to face Centenary College.

Oswego State’s first home game will not be played until after the school’s spring vacation. The team is scheduled to play on March 22 at 1 p.m. against St. John Fisher College.