In the fall, Saturdays at Wien Stadium are usually reserved for
football games. But with the Lions in Ithaca last weekend, a team
seldom talked about on the Columbia campus—the men's
lacrosse club—took to the turf.
On Saturday afternoon the Columbia Lacrosse Club welcomed a
club team from Hofstra, a team of Colgate alumni, and a
composite varsity level team from City College, the New Jersey
Institute of Technology, and NYU to the first annual Columbia New
York Metropolitan Fall Lacrosse Tournament. The tournament,
though informal, was organized on the initiative of the team under
the direction of senior co-captain Kirk Hourdajian. The squad was
able to reserve the field space, recruit the opposing teams, and
arrange for referees to officiate the round-robin style
In the tournament, Columbia (2-1) tied Colgate (2-0) for the most
wins. Columbia fell to Colgate in its first game by a score of 10-4,
with goals scored by Hourdajian, junior co-captain Ethan Brodie,
first-year Dan Nicolas, and sophomore Chris Parker. Columbia,
however, rebounded from the loss to defeat the composite team
5-1 and Hofstra 3-2 behind strong goalkeeping by sophomore
Carlos Bermudez. Brodie and Parker each scored in both games,
while Nicolas scored against Hofstra, and graduate students
Chris Carr, Alok Verma, and Tavius Cheatham scored against the
"It was a nice way for these teams to finish up the fall season,"
Hourdajian said. "It gave us an opportunity to see what other
teams have been doing and was a good chance to get our sticks
warmed up [for the spring season]."
The team hopes a strong end to less formal will lead to success
in the spring when the team plays a 12-game schedule against
club teams from other Ivy League universities and schools in the
tri-state area including Rutgers, Fordham, and Hofstra. Last year
the team earned a No. 17 ranking in the region and an invitation to
the National College Lacrosse League Tournament at the end of
the season. In the tournament, the team traveled to Annapolis, Md.
to face the Naval Academy and lost to a team comprised of players
described by Hourdajian as "kids who could play varsity but want a
more relaxed atmosphere."
For the upcoming season, the team is optimistic that it will be able
to build off of last year's success while integrating six new
first-year faces onto the team. The squad is also under the
leadership of four new volunteer coaches: Robert Wittmann, Seth
Basham, Jason Griswold, and Andrew Forchelli. Basham is
currently enrolled in the Columbia Business school and is a
player-coach, and all four played varsity lacrosse at Colgate.
Basham, speaking for the coaching staff, was pleased with the
outcome of the tournament.
"The tournament was clearly a success. The weather was
beautiful, the level of competition strong, and the camaraderie
developed over the course of the afternoon," Basham said.
"Clearly, this was a great warm-up for the spring season."
As a club sport with about 25 active members, the team operates
on limited resources. It schedules its own travel and referees
while members of the club provide their own equipment. The
financial crunch exacerbates the cost of long trips, such as the one
last spring to Navy, which Hourdajian said took a major toll on the
As the only Ivy League school without a varsity level men's
lacrosse team, Columbia offers only one option to students who
want to play lacrosse.
The option, however, has proved to be satisfying to the club
members. In fact, members attribute much of the team chemistry
to the fact that each member joins the club because they not only
enjoy the sport, but also the group of students that make up the
"It doesn't bother us that we don't have a [varsity] team because we
enjoy playing, whether varsity or not," Hourdajian said.