Lacrosse sticks are high with 3 wins


Nathan Bottiger, Sports Editor

Pitt-Johnstown lacrosse players started their season with three wins against opponents they struggled against in their fall season, giving them an early national ranking.

Last weekend the team played at Frostburg State University, where they played Frostburg’s club team along with California University of Pennsylvania and Robert Morris University’s club team.

At Frostburg’s fall tournament, Pitt-Johnstown went 1-2, including a 6-1 loss to their host.

Frostburg was Pitt-Johnstown’s first matchup at the season-opening spring tournament.

Senior Drake Watters said he believes Frostburg scheduled their first game against Pitt-Johnstown because they thought they would win easily and gain momentum.

The Lax Cats recorded a 6-5 win over Frostburg. Then the team recorded a 6-5-overtime win over Robert Morris.

Senior Matt Ziance said Robert Morris brought a tough team to the table, and that Pitt-Johnstown has never recorded a win against Robert Morris.

“We took a ton of momentum from the first game and applied it to this one.”

Pitt-Johnstown lead the entire game until the last few minutes of the final period, when Robert Morris scored two consecutive goals to take the lead.

Dave Fiumara scored the tying goal in the period’s last 30 seconds. After blocking a goal, freshman goaltender Tom Degore made a 50-yard pass to freshman Angelo Toscano, who scored the game-winning goal.

Pitt-Johnstown won their final tournament game against California university.

Ziance said the team exhibited their sloppiest performance during the game.

The Lax Cats initiated a quick 5-1 lead, but California scored three goals in the final period. The team held their one-goal lead to win the game.

Ziance said their freshmen performed well offensively and showed great poise in their vision of the field.

This was especially true for Toscano, who recorded goals in each game and a total of four goals.

Ziance said the team did well defensively, and Degore showed merit during the three games.

“He was a complete animal in the cage, and only allowed 14 goals on a rough estimate of 50 shot attempts.”

Watters said the key to their success was confidence, and they had a good attitude heading into the tournament.

“Once on the field, it felt like the chemistry kicked in,” he said. “Our confidence is just through the roof.”

Even with the 3-0 record, the Lax Cats still have their problems.

The team entered the tournament with only 14 players out of their 31-man roster, and had not practiced before the tournament.

Ziance said weather conditions cause practice cancellations. It also caused a cancellation for last Saturday’s games and, possibly, Sunday’s games.

“We have practices planned for weekends but haven’t been able to because of problems with scheduling, weather and reserving space.”

Ziance said players have been able to keep sharp by practicing on their own accord.

“We each find our own time to practice and improve.”

Ziance said their problem with players showing up for game is a different story, and has been an issue in the past.

Watters said the problem does not make sense to him because the players pay $110 dues and put in the practice hours but then do not show up to games.

“It’s embarrassing showing up with only 14 guys.”

Watters said their victories should encourage more players on their roster to start participating in more games.

The Lax Cats attracted some attention with their wins as they are ranked fourth in the National College Lacrosse League’s national tournament selection index, according to

They are also ranked No. 15 in the country out of 126 teams.

Ziance said this is the first time in the club’s history that have been ranked so early in the season.

“It’s early on, but I still think it’s pretty neat that we are ranked in the top 20.”