Short-Handed Roster Plagues Men’s Lacrosse

    Heading into the season’s closing stages, head coach Will Burson faced a player-selection crisis, thanks to an already undersized, injury-ridden roster. The Triton midfield and attack were without anchor players senior Kyle Hughes and freshman Austin Hallgren. On defense, senior backup goalkeeper Phil Behm was standing in for first-choice keeper sophomore Vishnu Prathap, who had broken his hand halfway through the season.

    On April 16, the shorthanded Tritons were no match for the University of San Diego on its home turf. The Toreros grabbed the lead early on, and UCSD struggled to catch up. By the third quarter — playing with few substitutes against a full UCSD roster — the Tritons completely lost their momentum and suffered a heavy 15-4 loss.

    Two days later, the team traveled to Las Vegas to play against the University of Nevada on April 18. Yet again, Triton stamina did not last long: The Rebels broke away with the lead in the first half, forcing UCSD to scramble to catch up.

    Unwilling to concede the game after only the first half, however, the Tritons retaliated with a set of strong performances by the team’s leaders. Captains Tim Riddle, Patrick Cleary and Ari Gordon scored a combined six goals for the Tritons during a furious offensive breakaway that tied the score by the third quarter.

    Unfortunately, the burst of energy was temporary and wasn’t enough to bring the team home with a victory. Again, with no subs on the bench, UCSD had neither the stamina nor the manpower to make it through the game against a full Nevada roster. They left Las Vegas with a 23-10 loss.

    With a week of rest before their season finale against cross-town rivals San Diego State on April 24, the Tritons took time to rejuvenate and regroup. However, injuries continued to nag many key players: Offensive stalwart and senior leader Gordon was forced to face the Aztecs with an injured shoulder, forcing more responsibility on Cleary and Riddle in the attack.

    UCSD managed to stay neck-and-neck with the Aztecs during the first half, however, in the second half SDSU blitzed the Triton defense and sent the Tritons home with a 17-5 season-ending loss.

    Riddle, reflecting on the season, said the team’s short roster proved to be tremendously detrimental to their success.

    “We reached the decision about halfway through the season about the negative effects of not having enough guys on the team,” Riddle said. “Next year, we are going to recruit as heavily as possible, and we want to have a full team next season so that we can give everyone a run for their money.”

    Readers can contact Christina Chopin at [email protected].

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