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The Bucs opened their 2004 campaign on Sunday at Moses Field against Nicholls State, on what turned out to be a beautiful day.

The first meeting between the two teams in the regular season was a hard fought one to the very end. NSU came away with a well earned 11-9 victory, and an early hand up on one of the four coveted playoff spots after a win over St. Ed's the day before.

NSU started the game with two quick goals before the Bucs woke up and tied the game. By half-time, the score was tied at 5 and both teams were settling in for a defensive struggle, as neither team had much offense.

As they did in the first half, NSU jumped out to a 7-5 lead very quickly and forced the Bucs to play catch up. By the fourth quarter, the Bucs were able to claw their way back once again to within 9-8 before NSU stretched the lead to its largest of the day on a penalty negated by a goal and a Man-up on a dead ball personal foul right after the play to make it 11-8.

NSU did give SU a chance. With less than three minutes left, Frank Makal notched a rocket shot in an unsettled situation to make it 11-9. During the ensuing face-off SU was able to gain possession. With a little over a minute left Frank made an unbelievable diving play to scoop a ball in the crease into the goal before he landed in the crease. The goal would have given the Bucs a shot with a minute left in the game, but was disallowed as Frank stepped on the crease.

A physical game, NSU was able to dominate ground balls all day, and capitalize on unsettled situations. Of the 11 goals NSU scored, over half were on fast breaks.

SU never held the lead the entire game. Credit must be given to NSU for its stingy defense and excellent hustle. While SU marked the intensity and physical play of the Colonels, the difference in the game was that NSU was able to capitalize on more opportunities than SU.

Caldwell, Bier and Jeffcoat all notched their first goals of the season along with Frank. With 15 freshmen on the field, several newcomers played solid minutes in their first official game for Southwestern.

Travis Nelson played considerable and meaningful minutes at D and long stick middie during the game. Emmel, Daulton, Gette, Arrington and MacConnell all made significant contributions in limited playing time as well.

The game left a bitter taste in mouth of the team, and showed them what they need to work on before their next two Division games in two weeks. Next week SU travels to San Antonio to play Trinity under the lights. The two teams haven't met in three years, with Trinity winning the last contest 12-6 in Georgetown.

With a total of 14 games, the more playing time and games the team has under its belt, the harder it will be to defeat. As the freshmen get comfortable with the veterans, one of the most athletic teams SU has fielded in years will get better.

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