Colgate Withstands Furious Rally by Holy Cross

HAMILTON – Five goals scored in a little over four minutes of the second quarter were just enough for Colgate to stave off Holy Cross here Saturday.

The 11-9 victory qualifies Colgate for the upcoming Patriot League Tournament. The entire six-team field is set, although seeding is not completely locked in with one more week of play remaining.

The current standings show Loyola at 7-0, followed by Army 6-1, Lehigh 5-2, Colgate and Bucknell both 4-3, and Navy 3-5. Next week's schedule has Bucknell at Loyola on Thursday night, Army visiting Crown Field at Andy Kerr Stadium on Friday night, and Lehigh at Lafayette (1-6) also Friday night.

Colgate improved to 8-4 overall and matched its win total from a year ago, when the Raiders finished 8-7. Colgate is advancing to the Patriot League Tournament for the fourth straight season and eighth time in the last nine years. It's also the Raiders' third bid in as many years under head coach Mike Murphy.

Saturday's game saw the scoring return of Ryan Walsh in a big way. The junior tallied four goals to snap a two-game streak of zero points – after Walsh had scored in his first 42 games as a collegian.

“I didn't really think it would be a weight lifted off my shoulder until I finally scored, and then I was like, 'Wow,'” Walsh said. “It definitely felt pretty good, so I was happy with that.”

Walsh scored once in the 3-3 first period and then turned in a natural hat trick in the second, scoring three of Colgate's five goals in a 4:06 stretch just before halftime. Walsh improved his goal total to 23 and his point total to 34 – both team highs. It also was his fourth hat trick of the season and 17th career.

“Coach has been preaching move the ball and make the extra pass, but we still haven't played our best game offensively,” Walsh said. “It's good and bad because it's toward the end of the season, but our best days are ahead of us. Hopefully, we get hot in the Patriot League Tournament and finish games and play the full 60.

“That will be our next big focus; to play the whole game the way we did the first half.”

After taking an 8-3 lead into intermission, Colgate found the net only three times in the second half as Holy Cross climbed back into contention. The Crusaders were down 10-5 in the fourth when they scored four times to make it a one-goal game with 3:08 showing.

But Brendon McCann completed his own hat trick with a shot from 20 yards out just 34 seconds from the end. McCann's goal into a virtual empty came as Holy Cross was trying to force a last-minute turnover.

“We just needed to keep playing Colgate lacrosse,” Murphy said. “I knew at the half that this game was far from over, and I needed our guys to kind of hit the reset button. I don't know that we did that very well.

“Give Holy Cross a lot of credit; they did a great job of coming back. But our guys did a good job of staying the course. We had a couple of hiccups there and got some nice plays out of the defense, got some nice play out of Alex Kinnealey at the faceoff-X – we did the things we needed to do to win.”

Kinnealey won 17 of 22 faceoffs to help the Raiders maintain control. That was especially true during the 5-0 run late in the second quarter that brought a sudden halt to a scoring drought for both sides.

After the 3-3 first period, there were goose eggs until McCann scored his second of the game with 5:12 on the clock. McCann faked a pass and instead took the shot, finding the upper right corner to make it 4-3 Raiders.

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