Extra time needed
Lacrosse team opens up season with three overtime thrillers, finishes break 4-1
The men’s lacrosse team went 4-1 over Spring Break to open its season. The Bulls played six overtime quarters, as three of their five games required extra time. Yusong Shi, The Spectrum
The men's lacrosse team scheduled five games over Spring Break to open its season. Buffalo ultimately played about six-and-a-half games, though.
The Bulls (4-1) traveled to Nashville, Tenn., Tuscaloosa, Ala., Orlando, Fla., and Morgantown, W.Va., over break. Three of their five matchups required extra time, totaling six periods of overtime in five days.
The Bulls defeated Vanderbilt (4-3, 2-1 SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference), 8-7, in four overtimes and Minnesota (3-3, 1-0 Upper Midwest Lacrosse League), 6-5, in overtime before falling to Central Florida (5-2, 1-1 SELC), 11-10, in overtime. Buffalo also defeated Alabama (2-8, 1-2 SECL), 11-5, and West Virginia (2-2), 12-7, on the trip.
In Thursday night's matchup against the Knights, the Bulls led 8-5 heading into the second half. Buffalo started the game with a 2-0 lead but was outscored 4-0 in the third quarter, resulting in the team trailing 9-8 going into the fourth quarter.
"After we went up 2-0, we leveled out," said head coach Ryan Crawford. "The third quarter kind of doomed us. We need to play four quarters instead of three. If we put together a full 60-minute game, we would have won. We can't get comfortable with a lead. We need to always have our foot on the gas pedal."
Senior midfielder Ryan Sans tied things up at 10 with 6:21 remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime. In overtime, a Knights bounce shot deflected off a Buffalo defenseman and found its way behind senior goalie Bryan Bergstol, giving the Bulls an 11-10 loss.
Buffalo gave up another substantial lead in its first game of the season against Vanderbilt. The Bulls led 6-3 going into the third quarter but found themselves tied up at seven at the end of regulation.
Four overtime quarters later, sophomore Ryan McCart fired a shot off the faceoff, sending the Bulls off with an 8-7 victory.
"It was pretty intense," Crawford said. "I've never been a part of going into four overtimes before. Our 'D' was great, very solid in three overtimes. We knew we couldn't give up a goal or make any mistakes. It gave us a pretty good evaluation as a team."
Buffalo experienced yet another overtime thriller Tuesday against Minnesota. This time, however, the Bulls were the team playing catch-up.
Buffalo fell behind 3-0 but notched two tallies in the second and third quarters, resulting in a 5-5 tie after four quarters of play. The Bulls found the back of the net in overtime for the sixth and final goal, improving their record to 3-0 during the weekend.
"That was probably the most fun we've had in a while," said senior defensive midfielder Andrew Gasper. "We were rattled after they scored three goals in a row on us; it put us on our heels. They were chirping us pretty hard. They were 0-2 and they needed to win, but we stuck it to them. The defense really went to work and pulled out the win for us."
Buffalo soundly defeated Alabama Monday and ended the trip with a 12-7 decision over West Virginia. Sans finished the break with 12 goals and three assists to lead the team, while junior attacker Julien Kann registered six goals and seven assists. Bergstol totaled 73 saves and was outstanding in the five contests, according to Crawford.
"We learned that there's definitely a lot we need to work on," Gasper said. "Especially with big conference games coming up the next two months. We need to focus on moving the ball around more, slowing things down on offense and not forcing passes. I think we played well, though, all things considered."
The Bulls play at No. 5 Michigan State (5-2, 2-0 Central Collegiate Lacrosse Association) Saturday at 7 p.m. A week later, Buffalo begins conference play at Kunz Field. The team will host No. 4 Boston College (5-1) Friday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m., followed by Pittsburgh (3-3, 1-1 CCLA) Sunday, April 6, at noon.
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