It would only seem natural for the St. Thomas men’s club lacrosse team to come out sluggish and down after a tough, sudden-death 11-10 loss to rival St. John’s last Friday night. But much to the chagrin of Bethel, this was not the case Monday night as the Tommies rolled over the Royals 22-3 at O’Shaughnessy Stadium.
No. 4-ranked St. Thomas (6-3 overall, 2-2 UMLC) now holds sole possession of third place in the Upper Midwest Lacrosse Conference behind North Dakota State and St. John’s. With both teams tied for third entering Monday’s game, St. Thomas’ victory over Bethel (4-4, 1-3 UMLC) denied the Royals a chance to surpass the Tommies in the conference standings.
Ten St. Thomas players got on the board on the way to the team’s single highest scoring output of the season. The top scorer for the Tommies was Nikolas Colpitts who had four goals, followed closely by a trio of players with three goals each.
Defender Joel Friebe said rebounding from the game in Collegeville was important and affected how the team can progress the rest of the season.
“We were coming off a tough loss on Friday, and we really wanted to show what we had and move the ball crisply and work hard and show what we got,” Friebe said.
Monday was the Tommies’ first and last home game of the season. With the winter weather lingering into April, coach Peter Moosbrugger had to forgo his three scheduled home games, but was finally rewarded with the ability to play the team’s senior night at home as scheduled.
“Tonight was senior night, (and) it was all about the seniors, so we got all the seniors in and (got them) a lot of playing time, and we played for them,” Moosbrugger said. “I’m happy with how we went about business tonight.”
Friebe also appreciated the team’s last hurrah on its home turf, even with the frigid temperatures dipping into the high 20s.
“We’ve spent a lot of time, tears and sweat on this field, and it was an honor to play here for four years,” Friebe said.
For midfielder Giuseppe Palermo, the first and last time playing at O’Shaughnessy Stadium this season was emotional, but he wished his team would have had a couple more games to enjoy with the home-field advantage.
“That damn snow … we were supposed to have two more (games), and that would have been nice, but (it’s a) bittersweet moment being the first and last,” Palermo said.
St. Thomas took control just minutes into the game and never looked back. Colpitts scored three of St. Thomas’ first four goals, all within the first ten minutes of the game. The closest the Royals came was 4-1 with 3:07 remaining in the first quarter when, with a man-up, Bethel’s offense snuck past senior goalie Ryan Zeilinger from the top of the key.
With St. Thomas leading by double-digits in the second half and the game out of reach for Bethel, Zeilinger got the opportunity to rest up for playoffs as freshman Austin Dover played in net the rest of the game and got some valuable experience against a conference foe.
Moosbrugger described this point of the season in his pregame speech as “our second season.” He maintained that from this game on, it’s crucial for his players to forget about the past and focus on what they can do to remain undefeated from this point forward.
“We can’t fix what’s behind us and now we can only gear up and get ready for the future,” Moosbrugger said. “So right now we’re 1-0, and we got to continue to go undefeated, and that’s us playing a team game.”
Moosbrugger’s seniors have now adopted that same outlook, focusing more on the what they can do to get back to the national championship for the third consecutive year.
“The season really just began tonight. We got conference playoffs in a couple weeks and then nationals in California starting on May 12th,” Friebe said. “The goal from day one has been a national championship three-peat.”
“All of us were a little bummed about the St. John’s loss – kind of getting our revenge tonight, and we came out hot and put a lot on the board.” Palermo said. “We know that we can play, and we just have to do the stuff we do together best. We have a nice little break now before conference tournaments start, and I think we’ll heal up our bodies, regroup and get ready to go.”
St. Thomas’ next game will be played during the conference playoffs held on April 25-27 at Concordia University’s Seafoam Dome. The Tommies’ opponent has yet to be determined.
Joey Anderson can be reached at Ande9008@stthomas.edu.