Performing better than expected

 

MLAX team huddle 2

Canisius men’s lacrosse has excelled under first-year head coach Mark Miyashita so far and they will be handed a tough task when facing No. 1 Albany on Tuesday. (Tom Wolf/Canisius College) 

 

By Canio Marasco III

Sports Reporter

The Canisius men’s lacrosse team has started the season strong, winning three of their first four games.

Their lone loss came in the first game of the season against Dartmouth when they gave up the game-deciding goal with one second left in the contest.

Coach Mark Miyashita said that he has been pleasantly surprised by the Griffs’ start to the season.

“I’m very happy,” the first-year head coach said. “Every game has been close – no more than a two-goal margin. So, it’s exciting to see, for the guys, that the work they’ve been putting in and buying into our system has paid off with some good results.”

With all the change the Griffs experienced this offseason with longtime coach Randy Mearns leaving to become the head coach of the brand new St. Bonaventure program. The Bonnies will play its first season in 2019.

Miyashita said he didn’t expect the Griffs to play as well as they have thus far.

With a new coaching staff and a new system in place, the Griffs have hit the ground running.

“I don’t know if I can say I expected this strong start,” Miyashita said. “Obviously being with a new coaching staff, and the guys making adjustments, it was all about getting out of the gate and competing. It’s tough to judge spring scrimmages against live games. I think once we actually got going, it was just a matter of the team interacting and getting together on game day. Fortunately, it’s paid off.”

The Griffs next game is Saturday against Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. The game also serves as a tune-up before the Griffs travel to Albany, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the country.

Miyashita said that Colgate presents a tough test.

“It’s going to be a tough match-up,” he said. “They’re very skilled. They’re big and athletic. I think it’s going to be another tough battle back and forth. I don’t really expect this to be different than our other games in terms of it being a tight game. If we do our job, it will probably be a one- or two-goal game. It will be a nice test and challenge for us.”

The Griffs, and Miyashita, will face their toughest opponent of the year against Albany on Tuesday.

Not only is Albany one of the best teams in the country, they also have one of the best players in the country on their team, Connor Fields.

Miyashita said that the team doesn’t feel any pressure heading into the game – the pressure is all on Albany.  

“They’re ranked No. 1 right now in the country,” Miyashita said. “But at the end of the day, they have to pass, catch and scoop the ball just the same as we do. We’ll gameplan accordingly and prepare our guys no different than we would for any other opponent. We don’t have any pressure on us when it comes to that game. All the pressure is on Albany to retain the number one ranking.”

The Griffs’ three wins this season have all come by two goals or less. In every game, the Griffs have had a slow start, but have shown perseverance, as they force their way back into the contest.

Miyashita said this resilience has been paramount in their early season success.

“I think the thing that’s a strength so far is our resilience and our ability to stay in the moment,” said Miyashita. “We never get too high or too down when we face adversity. The guys have done a great job in weathering the storm, and it has led to some positive results, no matter if we’re up or we’re down.”

As the Griffs travel to play of the best teams in the country, this determination could be vital in sticking with the high-powered talent of Albany.

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