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"In home opener, men's lacrosse hopes to learn from loss against Michigan State"

The Spectrum

Following a blowout loss last weekend at No. 4 Michigan State, the men's lacrosse team doesn't get much of a respite.

The Bulls (4-2) open conference play this weekend, hosting No. 8 Boston College (5-2, 0-1 Pioneer Collegiate Lacrosse League) Friday night and Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-2 Central Collegiate Lacrosse League) Sunday.

Following Buffalo's 12-3 loss to the Spartans (8-2, 4-0 CCLA) last Sunday, the Bulls have spent the past week revamping their system of play in anticipation of this weekend.

"We need to overhaul our play as a whole," said senior defensive midfielder Andrew Gasper. "We are forcing things too much; we are not playing smart lacrosse. What we have been working on this week is slowing things down, just kind of getting the offense in a place where we can make the plays happen and play smart and we're changing up the 'D' and playing smarter, talking more and just going back to fundamentals and focusing on playing good lacrosse."

The game against the Spartans came at a good time for the Bulls; it gave them time to adjust before conference play and showed younger players what top competition is like in the MCLA.

Both Gasper and head coach Ryan Crawford expressed the importance of knowing what to strive toward for a roster with so many younger players.

The Bulls have switched their focus to the Eagles now, tailoring their practice to Boston College's style of play. The defense has been applying more pressure than normal to the offense to mimic Boston College's defensive style.

Gasper also stressed playing team lacrosse.

"Later in the [Michigan State] game, it just seemed like a bunch of guys out there playing lacrosse," Gasper said. "We lost our team cohesiveness after we got rattled."

Recently, the Bulls have benefited from playing and practicing outside, which has helped the team with spatial recognition and offensive flow.

"I'm just getting used to the spacing on the field," Crawford said. "When you're in the gym, it's kind of cramped. You don't have as much room offensively to work the ball, and it becomes difficult because the defense can't really press out the way we want them to and our offense can't really utilize the space."

The Bulls' game Friday against Boston College is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Kunz Field. Sunday's game against Pittsburgh is scheduled for noon.

"We've been here before where we have had a loss like that and we've come back and won our conference," Crawford said. "We still have a month left in the season. We just have to work hard and get to a place where we are playing our best lacrosse in early May when it matters most."


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