Bucs open season with a tough loss.
SU has high hopes for the 2003 season, including a run at the new LSA newly formed Division B inaugural Championship. To do that, SU must finish in either first or second in the Western Conference out of five teams.
The Bucs' first game of the season proved to make that road a little harder as they travelled to UT-Arlington to play the Mavericks in the first game for both teams of the season.
SU knew that UTA was an up and coming team, and had no illusions that this would be an easy game, despite winning convincingly over the Mavericks the past two years.
The first half saw both defenses set the tempo of the game, as sloppy play and offensive opportunities were few and far between. By half-time, the lead was 3-2 UTA, despite many great shots by several SU players. While UTA lived off the outside shot, as they were unable to mount any offensive prowess, SU had many opportunities through its offense to get on the board.
Frank Makal started off the season with a score off the crease on an assist from Freshman Jesse Barbour. The second goal came from Senior Eric Stein off an assist from first year Mike Jeffcoat.
All three UTA goals in the first half were from the same guy and all three were from the outside.
As the second half started, so did the flags a flyin' only for SU, that is. Total penalties for UTA the entire game, 2. Total penalties for SU the entire game, 14. In fact, SU did exceptionally well holding UTA to only 7 points considering much of the second half was played with a man down. For instance, the final quarter of the game started with a 3 minute non-releasable penalty for SU because a stick (Cyber) bought off the shelf at a local lacrosse store was to narrow in width. As that ended, it was immediately followed by three more penalties, giving SU a chance to play even with UTA for the first time in the quarter at the 9 minute mark in the game.
Only two man-up goals were scored on SU the entire day, as UTA won by a final of 7-3. with both teams getting meaningless goals with less than a minute to play.
Much credit needs to be given to UTA, specifically its goalie. SU had quite a few shots that would have gone in on most days and most goalies, but were stuffed by the goalie. In a test of defenses, the UTA goalie made the difference. SU kept UTA to outside shots. SU got the shots it wanted, the UTA goalie simply made the plays.
The new season also made the Bucs realize how much they miss some of the players they had last season. Without attackman Pete Banzhaf, a loss to graduation, the offense was searching for an identity.
A solid game was played by all long poles as not a single goal or assist was notched for a UTA attackman. UTA simply out-hustled SU to ground-balls and was able to clear the ball better than SU for much of the game. Overall, the game left the defense waiting for the offense to catch up, and quick.
The long trip home gave the Bucs plenty of time to take stock in where they were, and another chance the next day to get back on course for the season as they hosted A&M-CC from the eastern conference.