s UConn Men's Lacrosse: Huskies Fall to Rhode Island in Opener

This article first appeared at USLIA.com

By Richard Ogren

After sixteen days of rest after their spring break trip to the south, The University of Rhode Island Rams were anxious to get back on the field. Unfortunately they would not see field on Monday, as the Huskies home field had been destroyed by a weekend Rugby tournament, and team was left with nothing more than deep mud-pit with goals at each end.

The game began very slow, as both teams adjusted to the mud. The first goal came almost ten minutes into the game as Geoff Knowlten drew a double team and dished to Whitney Watts for a hard crank shot that got past the Husky goalie. URI would score again at 11:25 into the first quarter as Watts would roll away from the double team for a quick right-handed shot. UConn would answer back in transition, as Steve Colite was able to finish after a great clearing pass from the defense that left him one on one with the Ram goalie. The first quarter would end with the Rams leading 2-1.

The UConn defense tightened up and would hold the Rams scoreless in the second quarter. The Huskies tied the game at 4:23 in the second as Chris Sidwa found Steve Colite on the crease for his second goal of the game. The teams went to the half knotted at two.

The third quarter would begin just as slow as the two previous quarters, as both high powered offenses were stagnated by the mud. The Rams would open the second half scoring at 5:28 in the third as Sean Lindberg passed to Mike Jacobs who was left open on the crease. Lindberg would then get a goal himself on a fast break assist from Whitney Watts. The Rams would get their biggest lead of the game at 5-2, when Watts again scored unassisted. The teams would match goals for the rest of the third quarter, which ended with the Rams ahead 6-3.

The Huskies came out fired up for the fourth quarter and got themselves back into the game with three quick goals. The first goal came on an extra man opportunity as Steve Colite found Matt Whitneben on the left side of the goal for a quick shot. The second goal was a great individual effort by Colite who was hit on the crease and was somehow able to get the shot off anyway. The tying goal came on the ensuing face off as a blown fast break led to Tim Davis kicking the ball in for the goal. The Rams would answer though to regain the lead twenty seconds later as Whitney Watts found Freshman Shawn McCormick for the quick stick goal. The Huskies were not done yet as they re-tied the game at 5:33 into the quarter. The Rams re-captured the lead as Watts scored two more unassisted goals, giving them a 9-7 lead. The resilient Huskies would not go away though as Tim Davis made it a one goal game with 50 seconds remaining. The Huskies won the ensuing face-off but the Rams defense stepped up and was able to get the ball back to the offensive end of the field, where they iced the game on feed from Tony Axtmann to Sean Lindberg for the goal.

"I was very pleased with the play of the defense, in those conditions they needed to step up and they did. They are playing much better this year as a team, and they have handled a lot of difficult situations this year." Said Head Coach Charles Arthur. The defense of Matt Rubin, Paul Decarlo, and Michael Lord was led by the play of goal keeper John Melius who had 14 saves.

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