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spacer spacer  MEN'S LACROSSE: GAME SUMMARIES (2005) spacer
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SPRING IS IN THE AIR (4/9/05)

It is the time of the year where the lacrosse season either starts winding down, or starts to get real interesting. Seniors start getting nostalgic, playing their last home games ever, the sun comes out and warms everyone up, and the playoffs are in the air.

For the Bucs, the season is anything but winding down. With three games left, all against excellent opponents, the Bucs hosted the St. Ed's Hilltoppers on Saturday in what could be a playoff match-up.

St. Ed's is a solid team with very good coaching that never quits. SU had to deal with a lot of issues in the week leading up to the game. One of its starting D poles, Matt Denton, playing without an ACL all year, went down in practice on Tuesday and is gone for the remainder of the season. In addition, three of SU's strong middies were in Houston for a Biology field trip that weekend.

There is always a silver lining in anything that happens if you look hard enough for it, however. The absences, gave the Bucs, more importantly, many Bucs with minimal playing time all year, a chance to step on the field and make a difference in the game. That is exactly what they did.

As seniors like Matt Gainey, Frank Makal, Dave Winter, and Mike Jeffcoat were all stepping on the field for the last time in a game at SU, Robert Lockwood, Derek Samples, "Geo" Machado, Paul Humphries, and Jon-Micheal, were all freshmen that stepped up into roles where they had to contribute. A passing of the torch may be premature, but the guys came in and played very admirably.

SU did start out very sluggish against St. Ed's, however, with missed assignments and sluggish play, allowing the Hilltoppers to notch the first goal of the game from outside to take a 1-0 lead.

The goal woke SU up as shortly after, the attack scored two quick goals to take the lead. SU would never trail the rest of the game. SU added four goals in all before St. Ed's got their offense going and came into the second quarter only down 4-3.

A brief correction on the defensive end by the defensive players, proved to be all SU needed as the Hilltoppers would score one more goal the rest of the day, with a little over 3 minutes in the third. SU shut them down.

The Bucs had many opportunities to bust the game wide open in the 2nd quarter, pounding the ball relentlessly at the St. Ed's goalie, hitting pipes, and missing the goal altogether. However, the Bucs were only able to come away with two goals to show for it, taking a 6-3 lead into half-time.

As the second half started, the determination of the Bucs showed, and the goals started coming. SU scored 5 goals in the third to pull away to a commanding 11-3 lead, and finishing the quarter ahead 11-4.

That score would prove to be the final as SU was able to place many players in the game for experience.

Several players deserve credit, although all played a great game. Lockwood, a freshman middie, stepped in and did an exceptional job on the field all day, as did all the attack, and the defense minus Denton. The game ball went to Wersonske for hustling and providing a spark when St. Ed's was making a stand in the second. Wersonske is a diamond in the rough and will need to be strong in the playoffs.

For the senior class, everything has literally come full circle. As freshmen, they played on a team that won two games and had a total of 12 players in uniform the entire year, even going ironman one game due to injuries. Fank Makal came out early in the Spring after leaving baseball and was literally thrown in to a starting attack position. Four years later, I'm not sure what we would have done without him. Each year, not only have the guys stuck with the game, but they have played a large role in helping make the Bucs as strong as they are now.

We will need it as we head to UTA this weekend for a match-up against UTA and UNC. UTA has become the premiere team in LSA Div. B , and are the defending Champions. While SU pulled an upset last year, during the season, UTA was able to make it happen during the playoffs. This will be a very good game, possibly the best in LSA B this year. The winner has bragging rights going into the playoffs.

One thing is sure. While both teams are looking at this game as a must win, SU wants more than to simply "make the playoffs" this year. Whatever it takes to get to the finals and win, the Bucs have been preparing since August. This year, they plan on making sure they have that chance.

Bill Bowman


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