After narrow losses in the first two NESCAC matchups this season, Bates men’s lacrosse headed into Saturday afternoon’s game against Trinity eager to pull out a win. Although sub-zero conditions deterred a large crowd, the team exploded onto the field ready to fight.

The Trinity College Bantams were the first on the board, but the ’Cats quickly responded and took the lead with three goals in the first quarter; two of which were scored by Matt Chlastawa ’20, who finished the game with a season high five goals. The points in this game also brought Chlastawa up to the top of the NESCAC standings in points, tying for first at 30.

The only goal of the second quarter came from an assist from Chlastawa, who ferried a ground ball to fellow sophomore Curtis Knapton ’20, who put one more on the board from eight yards out. The second quarter came to a close with the ’Cats up four to one against the Bantams. Bates came into the third even stronger, bringing it to 5-1 within the first thirteen seconds with a goal scored by Jack O’Brien ’18.

Rob Strain ’20 recorded 11 saves throughout the game, but let two slip in in the last few minutes of the quarter. However, with another four goals in hand, scored by Chlastawa , Dahnique Brown-Jones ’19, Clarke Jones ’18, and Breschi ’18, Bates finished out the third at 8-3. The Bantams fought hard, putting another four goals on the board. Despite the Bantams’ aggressive offense, the Bobcats scored another six goals in the fourth, three of which came in the first minute of play. At the end of the game, Jones netted a hat trick, and star of the game Chlastawa popped in two more to bring his tally up to five.

“This year has been so much fun. We have so many new guys contributing, that every practice and game has tremendous energy,” said Chlastawa when asked about this year’s squad. “I love my team and the coaching staff. We are extremely excited for the four-game home stretch we have for the next couple of weeks. It’s always nice seeing and hearing family and friends in the stands.”

That young talent has proved to be key for Bates, with first-year Will Haskell ’21 quickly making his mark as a defensive force, racking up two ground balls and a game high three turnovers.

“The whole team has been putting in a lot of work this whole year, and it feels good when it shows in a game like today’s against Trinity,” says Haskell.

Although there is plenty of young talent on this year’s squad, there certainly isn’t a lack of talent or leadership from the upperclassmen. Senior captains Burke Smith ’18 and Jones  are consistent scorers, fierce leaders, and hold their team to a high standard on and off the field.

“The leaders on this team have emphasized from day one that this group works for each other and is a family,” says Peyton Weatherbie ’21. “From the start, every 6:00 a.m. conditioning class, every practice, every game we have played together and for each other. That is what drives us to succeed, and it shows in games like [Saturday’s].”

The men’s lacrosse team will take on Keene State at home on Tuesday, March 20.