Men’s lacrosse team drops tight game to former U of T players

The Varsity Blues men’s lacrosse team lost 9–10 to a team assembled from Blues alumni in the second annual alumni lacrosse game Saturday.

Daniel Fleming contributed three goals and two assists, while Michael Buwalda scored one goal and assisted three for the Blues. The alumni roster included Stephen Hoar, who plays for the Toronto Rock and Hamilton Nationals Lacrosse teams, and Angus Dineley, goalie for the same Hamilton team.

“We had a great time today. It’s great to get a win against the young guys and see some people you haven’t seen for years,” Hoar said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The relaxed atmosphere of the game was clear from the start, as Blues’ coaches Todd Wilfrong and Joe Nizich took on the roles of referees, instructing players to keep contact to a minimum. The Blues’ immediately took possession of the game, but could not score, allowing the alumni to do so instead. The momentum was clearly with the alumni, and within minutes they were up 3–0. With the alumni leading, the game became more physical as the Blues struggled to make offensive plays.

However, the Blues were able to overcome their frustration, with Fleming claiming his team’s first goal. Within the next few minutes, another three goals from the Blues were met by only one from the alumni, tying the game at 4–4. The alumni took a slim 6–5 lead into half time. While the alumni were up 8–7 minutes into the second half, an alumni player received the only major penalty of the game, as he was taken out of the game for one and a half minutes for holding. However, the Blues were unable to convert on their one-man advantage, and the alumni took the offensive during the penalty, retaining their first-half momentum. Midway through the half, the Blues were able to tie the score again at 8–8, but that was as close as they would get to a win; the alumni pulled away to win 10–9.

Post-game, the camaraderie between the two squads was clear. They posed together for pictures, and Hoar gave the Blues tips for winning face-offs.

“We had a great time today. It’s great to get a win against the young guys and see some people you haven’t seen for years,” Hoar said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The Blues remained optimistic despite the loss. “It was hard for [the Blues] to play well; it’s a sort of hit and giggle game. There was no body checking like there would be in a normal game,” coach Nizich said. “[The alumni] also had two Canadian national team players. Overall, it was a good game.”

The two sides parted good-naturedly, as the focus of the Blues turned towards their last regular season game versus Bishop’s University on Sunday. “It’s an important game,” explained Nizich. “Our spot in the playoffs is set, but if Bishop loses, they’ll go [into the playoffs] in second place instead of tied for first. It’s important for us to play well and finish the season strong.”

“[We’re] confident,” said Fleming. “We have a great group of guys, and we’re going to try to build off of our wins last weekend against Trent. If we want to end the season 7–3, we’ll go out and do our best. If we want to end 6–4, we’ll go out and play like we did today.”

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