The Penultimate Game Approaches: Final game against Detroit will decide who heads to the MAAC tournament

By Canio Marasco

Sports Reporter

The Griffs suffered two large defeats this past week against the Quinnipiac Bobcats and the Robert Morris Colonials. The two setbacks have made the Griffs final game against the Detroit Titans a must win.

The Griffs first loss of the week came against the Bobcats. The Griffs started the game with a nice three goal first quarter, staying close the league leaders. However, in the second quarter, the Griffs only scored one goal, while the Bobcats scored another five. The Griffs headed into the second half trailing 10-4. In the second half, the Griffs played better in the third quarter, solving their defensive miscues and only allowing two goals. However, the Griffs couldn’t capitalize on the good defense, only scoring two goals. The defense, again, fell apart in the fourth quarter, allowing five goals yet again. The Griffs, in the end, were blown out 17-9.

The most concerning aspect of the Griffs loss was the 17 goals they allowed. The Griffs defense, up to this point in the season, has been problematic at times. However, over a three game span, the Griffs have allowed 45 goals. This could be indicative of a frightening trend, as the Griffs have progressively been allowing more goals as the season has waned. In the past four games, the Griffs allowed 52 goals. In comparison, in their previous five games, the Griffs had only allowed 46 goals.

The second loss of the week came against the Colonials. The Griffs started the game woefully; they allowed 10 goals in the first half, while only scoring three in response. The Griffs entered the second quarter only down by two goals. However, the Griffs collapsed in the second frame, allowing seven goals, while only scoring two. A common theme this season, the Griffs were forced to play from behind in the second half because of poor play in the first. The Colonials only scored five goals in the second half; however, the Griffs were unable to score in the third quarter and only tallied three in the final frame. The Griffs ultimately lost 15-6, their second large loss in two games.

Much like the previous game against the Bobcats, the Griffs simply collapsed defensively against the Colonials. The Griffs had already given-up 52 goals over the previous four games, however after their performance against the Colonials the total grew to 67. Over the second half of the season, the Griffs defense has been alarmingly bad. As stated previously, over their first five games, the Griffs only allowed 46 goals, scoring about as many goals as they had conceded. Over the last five games, the Griffs have allowed 21 more goals. The Griffs offense has stayed consistent this year, scoring 48 goals in their first five games, while scoring 46 goals the last five. Meaning, the sole reason the Griffs have slumped recently is due to their poor defense.  

The Griffs have hit a snag in their play at the worst possible time in the season. The Griffs next game is against the Titans, who are currently one spot above them in the MAAC standings. This one spot is extremely important in determining the seeding for the upcoming MAAC tournament.

In the MAAC tournament, for men’s lacrosse, the top four teams in the conference qualify for the playoff. The Titans and Griffs are currently seeded four and five, respectively. The Titans currently hold a 2-2 conference record with two games left to play. The Griffs currently have a 2-3 record. This means that the winner of the Griffs season finale will make the MAAC tournament. The Griffs, if they win, will have the same record as the Titans, meaning they would earn a spot in the tournament based upon a head-to-head tiebreaker. If the Titans win, they simply enter the tournament due to a superior conference record. The Titans, even if they lose to the Griffs, could still make the tournament, based upon the results of the Monmouth Hawks two final games.

The Griffs faced this scenario last season; the Griffs traveled to the motor city and faced a must win game against the Titans to have a shot at making the MAAC tournament. The Griffs lost that game 6-11 and subsequently missed the tournament.

This penultimate game will be the biggest of the season for the Griffs. While the Griffs are currently in the midst of their worst slump of the season, the Titans won their previous game against the Monmouth Hawks, a large win, keeping them in the thick of MAAC tournament contention. The two teams are rather similar, in that they both have lacked solid defense this season. The Titans have conceded 95 goals, while only scoring 65. The Griffs, likewise, have given-up a total of one 113 goals this season. However, the Griffs have the decided advantage on offense. While the Titans have only scored 65 goals this season, the Griffs have scored 94 goals. Although both defenses have been poor this season, the Griffs high-powered and consistent offense could prove to be the deciding factor in the match-up, as they pounce on the Titans bad defense.    

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