By Caitlin McCarthy
In the fine state of Tennessee, a rivalry spans between two universities. Anyone on the fine Mountain we call home could tell you that the University of the South is clearly better than our rivals, Rhodes College, in every way. Last Sunday, April 12, Sewanee had the opportunity to prove this to be true once again. Sending 35 of our most talented men – the men’s lacrosse team – and three of our finest coaches – head coach Marty Watters, assistant coaches Mark Destro and Slater Ottenritter – the Tigers took Memphis by storm.
Walking onto the enemy’s turf at Rhodes, the Tigers felt completely at ease, ready to display their prowess, lacrosse stick finesse, and unbreakable team spirit. The foggy, rainy day did nothing to dampen their spirits. They were ready to win.
The Rhodes Lynx, on the other side of the field, wrongly assumed they had this in the bag. While historically the various teams at Sewanee have fought neck and neck with the Lynx, typically coming out on bottom, the men’s lacrosse team is different, extraordinary, and highly successful. The last game of regular season and the Tigers were just getting started. The teams lined up and from the first millisecond, Sewanee won the faceoff, foreshadowing the results of this pivotal match.
After several minutes the Lynx finally scored the first goal of the game. The Tigers were a little too comfortable and a mere six seconds later, Rhodes scored a second time. Snapping back to attention, at 6:55 in the first half attacker Robbie Berndt (C’18) scored with an assist from defender Chris Ryan (C’16) for the first Tiger goal of the game. The Tigers went on to score twice more with two unassisted goals by attacker Hayden Byrd (C’17) and midfielder Peter Brown (C’18). Rhodes would only score once more in the first period which was closely followed by the fourth Sewanee goal by midfielder Cotter Brown (C’16). The first period ended with a score of 4-3 Sewanee. The Tigers were already winning, but the Lynx weren’t giving up just yet.
It only took 39 seconds into the second period for Sewanee to score again. Berndt not only started the second quarter with a goal, he also followed it with another a mere 16 seconds later, and let another at the 12:42 mark. All three goals were unassisted and highly impressive.
Not wanting Berndt to have all the fun, attacker-midfielder George Bukawyn (C’17) scored less than thirty seconds later with an assist by attacker Matthew Stiefel (C’17). Stiefel in turn made his own goal with an assist from Berndt. The Tigers continued to relentlessly score on our rival with three more unassisted goals to finish out the first half: first with another one by Byrd, then another by Peter Brown, then another by Stiefel. Undoubtedly the Lynx began to see the game as a lost cause, adding no additional points to the three they put up in the first period of the half. The second period culminated with a score of 12-3, Sewanee.
It is not everyday that the Tigers get to crush another sports team. Seizing the opportunity, Sewanee continued to rack up points on the scoreboard. The second half began with yet another goal by Berndt, followed two minutes later with a goal by Byrd. At the 8:50 mark midfielder Tyler Calnan (C’17) passed perfectly to Buckawyn for another goal. To finish the third quarter, midfielder Jimmy Parker (C’18) scored an unassisted goal. The Lynx could not score for the second consecutive period, and the third period ended with a score of 16-3, Sewanee.
In a valiant attempt that resulted in feeble gains, Rhodes did score to start the final quarter of the game. Of course, this was quickly followed by another goal by Bukawyn, assisted by Byrd. The Lynx made their final goal of the game at the 8:46 mark. The Tigers, despite every attempt to cool off from absolutely annihilating the rivals, made an additional two goals to end the game. With an assist by Peter Brown, Berndt made his sixth goal of the game. Peter Brown returned to make the last triumphant goal of the match, ending the game with a score of 19-5, Sewanee. All in all, not a bad way to end the regular season. After the game, the Sewanee Tigers were named the 2015 Southern Athletic Association Regular Season Champions. This game marked the end to yet another wildly successful season – a trend the men’s lacrosse team has been diligently turning into a tradition over the past several seasons – with a 9-3 overall record, and a 5-1 conference record.
Berry College and Centre College – teams the Tigers get fired up about – tied with Sewanee for 5-1 conference records. However, by having the lowest number of goals scored against the Tigers compared with these two others, the Tigers earned the championship as well as the coveted number one seat in the upcoming SAA tournament.
Not only did the Tigers outshoot the Lynx, but they also won more faceoffs starting with the commencement of the game, and they caused more turnovers for the downtrodden heathen Lynx.
To add even further excitement to the game, game leader and goalkeeper Selby Austin (C’17) had an incredible eight saves during this game that took place in his hometown. Other game leaders included Berndt with his six goals, midfielder Hal Smith (C’15) with his eight groundballs, and several others for their incredible six assists.
Fans get excited for the upcoming SAA tournament where the Tigers will no doubt continue to crush the competition! YSR!