|Taylor Wisman, 3rd year packaging science major, No. 11, wards off a Western New England opponent during the game Friday, March 15, 2013 at RIT.
The Rochester weather was dreary when the RIT’s Men’s Lacrosse team took to the turf field to face off against Western New England University on Friday, March 15. Snow, rain and wind struck the field relentlessly, chilling players and spectators alike. Dozens of blanket-covered fans filled the bleachers to observe the first game of the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Flower City Cup. The cup doubled as a fundraising effort for cancer research and support, and was hosted at RIT, Nazareth College and St. John Fisher College. In support of the cup, the men of RIT took to the field wearing special purple uniforms, the color of lilacs (Rochester’s famous flower) and the color of cancer awareness.
The game opened strong for the Tigers, with Western New England immediately forced on the defensive. Less than two minutes into the game, RIT scored their first goal with ease. RIT’s defense would not let the visitors tie the score. Mere seconds before the quarter ended, RIT managed to slip in a second goal to close the quarter with a lead of 2-0.
The Tigers’ momentum continued into the second quarter, which played much the same as the first. Western New England managed to score twice late in the period, but the Tigers were running circles around their opponents as goal after goal slipped by the Golden Bears’ defense. In just fifteen minutes, RIT scored a total of five goals on Western New England. When the first half of the game drew to a close, the Tigers had more than doubled their lead with a score of 7-2. The score left the crowd in high spirits.
Ten minutes and a cup of hot chocolate later, spectators returned to the field as the two teams prepared to resume the game. In a repeat performance of the first quarter, RIT scored two more goals while blocking every attempt by Western New England to narrow the point gap. As time wore on, it became clear that the opponents would have little chance of victory unless they stepped up their game. Western New England achieved one goal before the quarter ended.
In the fourth quarter, the Golden Bears made a final, last-ditch effort to regain control of play and managed to score one more goal, but it was simply too little too late. To make matters worse for them, RIT racked up four more goals before the quarter closed. Halfway through the quarter, it became clear that RIT had cemented their victory. When the final whistle blew, RIT had decisively won the game with a score of 13-4.
With the match soundly won, the sun finally came out and the Tigers departed from the field satisfied. Third year Mechanical Engineering Technology major Jack Krzyston had three goals and one assist. “I think we played really well. The coaches got us ready for this game. We’re playing for a great cause.”
That cause had a personal importance to the team, as explained by second year Political Science major Patrick Johnston: “We are playing for a big cause today. Obviously we have a support for cancer, but our team has Bill Rago. [He] was a big part of our team, he passed away from cancer. Today, that’s what we we’re playing for.” William Rago was slated to join the team, but after a leukemia diagnosis, he became the team’s manager. He passed away on September 15, 2010. Johnston continued, “I think he was watching over us today, and I think that was one of the best games we’ve played, probably, this year.”
The Tigers didn’t have much time to rest before their next match in the Coaches vs. Cancer Flower City Cup on Sunday, March 17 against Endicott College. RIT won the snowy match 17-5. RIT is now 4-1 on the season.