The McGill Redmen (11-1) squared up against the Trent University Excalibur (11-1) for what promised to be a suspenseful rematch between two men’s lacrosse heavy-hitters at Forbes Field on Sunday. The Redmen looked to avenge their only loss this season at the hands of the Excalibur in mid-September. Trent and McGill remained neck-and-neck throughout the first half, but the Redmen exploded in the second half with four unanswered goals, taking the match 9-5 and topping the CUFLA East Division table.
“We started off straight from the first quarter, which we’ve been struggling doing all year,” Redmen midfielder Jay Jiranek said. “We just came together and played as a team [and] got the result we wanted.”
The first half deadlock was due to the defensive prowess of both teams and a number of turnovers committed by each side. While Trent managed to run the ball up multiple times, the Redmen offence made quick work of their advances with long passes. This strategy gave McGill the advantage when it came to possession, as their quick movement of the ball bought them precious time in the offensive zone.
“We didn’t rely on any single player,” Redmen attacker Goose Bolton said. “We held the ball for most of the game and they didn’t have it, and they can’t score when they don’t have it.”
McGill continued to control possession into the second half, with the first half ending in a 5-5 stalemate. Two goals halfway through the third quarter changed the momentum in favour of the Redmen and guaranteed them the win.
“On offence, all you have to do is be patient,” Redmen Assistant Coach Nick Soubry said. “We were patient and we put those goals in the net.”
McGill will face Ottawa in the Baggataway Cup Playoffs on Oct. 29 at Molson Stadium. The Gee Gees are currently in sixth place in the Eastern CUFLA conference, so it is likely that the first-seed Redmen will proceed to semifinals the following weekend.
“Coach Murdoch always talks about peaking at the right point, which would mean going into the playoffs,” Jiranek said. “[With a] big win against Trent, it’s us finally hitting our stride, and it’s really exciting that going into the Baggataway Cup that we’re playing the best we’ve ever played.”
Quotable: “With 15 freshmen on the team, everyone’s learning, so the start from game one to now has been exponential.” – Redmen defenseman Tanner Baldin on the leadup to the Trent victory.
Stat Corner: After defeating Trent, McGill took their spot at the top of CUFLA East and is in position to take the conference title for the fifth time in a row.
Moment of the game: During a power-play halfway through the third quarter, McGill’s Max Murdoch made a bottom-corner goal with his first shot on the field, starting the offensive sweep that won them the game.