Lacrosse falters in first competition on the west coast

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In their first ever game out west, Mercer Lacrosse was not ready for the altitude of either the playing field or their opposing team’s ability. A 20-4 loss was not the ideal result for the Bears, especially after the opening quarter saw Air Force take a 8-2 lead that stunned the young team. “I think we need time to develop. We are the only team in the country without a senior, and the only team in the country without a starting junior. You cannot underestimate what that does for your team. That is three full years of experience going against one full year,” said Coach Jason Childs.
However, he did not want this to be the only reason behind the loss. “I think some day kids have it and some days they do not. That was clearly a day we did not have the focus we needed to play a solid lacrosse game. That is my responsibility and I failed in preparing to be ready for that game. I also think the altitude had a lot to do with this. As a group we had not been in that environment, and we did not have any players use to anything like that. We looked fatigued mentally, and that is something that was brought on by the altitude. However, we need to rise above that and not make that an excuse,” said Childs.
Outstanding performers in the game were Cole Branch as well as Kevin Alexander on the defensive end. “We win as a team, and lose as a team, but I do think Cole and Kevin stood out a little bit there,” added Childs. However, they were not enough to overcome the offensive onslaught from the Falcons’ Mike Crampton and Keith Dreyer’s seven goals.
Despite the Air Force setback, the team has shown progress. They wouldn’t have won a game without it. “The Manhattan game was a great turnaround for our team. We gave up six goals in the first quarter and held them to two the remainder of the game. I think we were better than Wagner and we were able to do some things much easier than against any other team we played this year,” Childs said, before mentioning that they were ready to compete against them but not Air Force.
The Bears do have three more contests this year. Coach Childs is both cautious and optimistic about the Bears’ chances. “We have three games remaining that I feel we can be very competitive in. I think Delaware is having a little bit of a down year, but they are very talented and play very fast. That could be a problem, but we are going to try to slow them a little. We will look to play zone and sit on the ball a little. I think VMI and St Joseph’s look to be very competitive games for us, and I am excited for the end of the season,”  Childs said.
The Bears play their final home game against St. Joseph on April 21.