It all comes down to one game. Again. The Albion College men’s lacrosse team is set to face-off against MIAA rival Adrian College tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in a game that determines the MIAA regular season champion.
The Britons entered the final game of their 2013 season undefeated against MIAA opponents and dropped the finale against Adrian 10-8, propelling the Bulldogs to the regular season championship. The Brits believe the outcome will be different this year, though, when they travel to Adrian tomorrow morning.
“We have a lot more belief in our units—our defensive units and our offensive units—and I think we produce a lot more than we expect,” said Kyle Formanczyk, Chesterfield junior and the Britons starting goalie. “I think we just believe more.”
While Albion has hardly been tested throughout the course of their conference schedule this year, their increased belief can be credited to their non-conference schedule and the level of competition they faced. The Brits closed out non-conference play with a 6-3 record, and two of their three defeats came at the expense of just one goal.
Tim Urso, Novi junior, leads the attack for Albion as they head into the most pivotal game of the season. His 51 points are 16 more than anyone else on the team, but key newcomers Zach Hubbell, East Lansing first-year, and Dominic Hamper, Grand Blanc first-year, have made their mark in their young careers.
Hamper is looking forward to being a part of the up and coming rivalry between the two teams.
“My mindset is to just be a team player, play for the guys around me, do what we’ve been doing all year and I think we’ll execute on game-day,” Hamper said.
While the entire defensive unit for Albion has been strong all year as they’ve picked up 72 more ground balls than their opponents, Formanczyk gives his team a sense of safety due to his level of consistency in goal. The junior ranks second in the country among Division III goalies in save percentage, checking in at 68.2 percent.
Formanczyk doesn’t plan on approaching the game against Adrian any differently than normal.
“I gotta stay loose, I gotta stay relaxed, focus on every save, play every defensive unit as its own and focus on the little things in the game,” Formanczyk said.
The team hopes their countless hours of film and practice that began with minicamp in late-January will finally get them over the hump that is Adrian. According to Nicholas Dimaggio, Bloomfield Hills sophomore, the dominoes are all lined up and ready to fall into place.
“Last year against a really good Adrian team we kind of got scared because in the past years Adrian was the team to beat,” Dimaggio said. “But I think last year was a learning lesson that we can actually beat them. They’re not the Goliath of the MIAA. I think this year if we stick to being effective, working hard and sharing the ball we can do a lot of great things.”
Photo courtesy of Lowell McGinnis