Coaches pay little attention to preseason polls, even those which they participate in. There’s enough to do with preseason workouts, training, conditioning and practices.
Fans, on the other hand, take a good, hard look at them, and supporters of Randolph-Macon men’s lacrosse had to be excited once they realized that their biggest rival, Hampden-Sydney, would come to Day Field for the Yellow Jackets’ home opener, and ready to watch their team beat the team ranked first in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) preseason survey.
But on a cloudy, gloomy day, the Tigers allowed little for Yellow Jacket fans to cheer about, as a dominant offensive performance from the opening draw carried Hampden-Sydney to an 18-7 win over Randolph-Macon, as the Yellow Jackets lost their ODAC opener and saw a three-game winning streak come to an end.
For the Tigers (1-0, 4-2), their first period offensive explosion centered around attacker Ian Levin, who was part of all six first period tallies for Hampden-Sydney, beginning with an unassisted goal 1:39 into the match. His second goal, which sandwiched an assist sent to Hunter Brown, upped the lead quickly to 3-0. Seconds later, Levin found Connor Pool and the Yellow Jackets, shocked, called timeout just 5:05 into the game, down 4-0.
For the rest of the afternoon, it was a case of Randolph-Macon trying to find footing offensively, while watching the Tigers operate at mid-season form. Levin finished the first period with three goals and three assists. Senior Miles Muncie finally got Randolph-Macon on the board with 22 seconds left for a 6-1 score.
The teams traded scores to open the second, then the Tigers went on a 3-0 run, leading 10-2 with 9:25 left. Nate Malinowski and Ryan Tiffey each scored for Randolph-Macon late in the half, but the Tigers took a 13-4 lead to intermission.
The Tigers opened the second half much like the first, firing three balls into the net, with Levin adding two assists to finish his afternoon. It was 17-4 when Jack Hayden scored with 2:42 left in the period. While Randolph-Macon scored three of the last goals of the match, the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Alex Camilliere and Tiffey each scored twice for Randolph-Macon, while Camilliere added an assist. Chris Cerrina had twelve saves for the Yellow Jackets, who watched dominate face-offs in both the first and third periods, key to their two big offensive runs, winning six of eight in the first quarter, five of six in the third, and 18 of 29 overall.
After a major fourth period comeback to secure their 12-10 win at St. Mary’s of Maryland three days earlier, the home loss was certainly disappointing, and gave Randolph-Macon pause to regroup, and realize that the loss was just the first step in conference play. The next test will be great as well, as Washington and Lee comes to Day Field this Saturday. The Generals opened their ODAC campaign with an 18-5 victory over Shenandoah.
The Yellow Jackets and Generals begin play Saturday at 1pm. Meanwhile, the Randolph-Macon women’s team continues non-conference play Saturday, hosting Washington College for a 4pm contest which will immediately follow the men’s match.