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: Photo Gallery

Every once in a while people are part of something special. The Bucs in '05 fit that bill. Picked 3rd in the LSA Pre-season poll behind both UTA and Trinity, and coming off a first round loss in the playoffs last year, the Bucs had quite a few unknowns in September.

By May 1, 2005, however, the Bucs and the league had found out a lot about the team. An undefeated conference record, and a dominant defense had led the Bucs to its best season since the 1989 Championship season over 15 years ago, led the Bucs to the championship showdown with UTA.

In only its second ever championship game, the Bucs knew they could play with UTA based on a convincing 11-5 win two short weeks before in Arlington. They also knew that UTA was a very solid team, the defending LSA Div. B Champions, and would not go quietly.

Back to that special season. Only four players on the roster come with lacrosse experience prior to Southwestern. Out of all the USL- MDIA schools(almost 200 between Division A and B), the Bucs have the fourth smallest enrollment of any school in the league, and the Bucs are very young (over half of the team is comprised of freshmen or sophomores).

All year, SU had found a way to not only win, but get all involved while doing it. This proved vital in the game against UTA, as this game was really broken up into a tale of two halves. Southwestern dominated the 1st and fourth quarters, and UTA commanded the two in between.

Southwestern came out with an intensity that led to total domination in the first, with Gainey notching 2 goals and one assist in the quarter. The second one was his 100th goal of his short two and a half year career. Pritchett, Weldon, Kerr, and Wersonske all joined the point party in the first as well, as SU was in danger of taking off.

SU would not score again until :46 second left in the third quarter. As the second started, so did the wrath of UTA. Gary's guys are very well coached and were able to dominate the second and third quarters, inching their way back into the game, only down by one at half-time at 5-4.

The picked up the third where they left off, as SU could not clear the ball, pick up any ground balls, and get the ball out of their defensive zone for literally almost the entire third quarter.

During that time, Jake was getting pelted with shot after shot, almost twenty alone in the third quarter. Through it all he let in only three in the third, in what could have been a runaway lead by UTA. UTA took a seemingly commanding 7-5 lead to the end of the third quarter before Freshman Derek Sample notched the first goal of his career to end the longest drought of the year for the Bucs.

Shortly after the fourth started, Pritchett raced a rocket shot past the Mav goalie to tie the game. From then on all fans and players were on pins and needles. UTA went back up by one 8-7 at the 13:30 mark, before SU answered back with a goal of their own by Gainey a minute later to make it 8-8. UTA started racking up penalties over the next few minutes, but SU could not capitalize. Finally, after missing an open shot just minutes before, Gainey fed Wersonske on crease with just under 2 minutes for the go ahead goal at 9-8. SU was able to win the ball in transition of the ensuing face-off and with just under a minute left, Gainey fed a cutting MacConnell for the final goal of the game to give the Bucs a 10-8 lead and the win.

Southwestern, as it had done all year, showed a resolve and refused to lose, despite being totally outplayed in the middle of the game. While no game balls were given, Jake and Gainey took it upon themselves to keep SU in the game when we really needed it. Five different scorers again came up big, with six of 10 goal assisted.

Not enough can be said for the droves of fans that came up to support the Bucs for the finals. Every player to a man talked on the way home how the fans lifted them in the fourth. Our fans have done that all year, with great family support no matter where we played. This is a special season to be shared by all.

The team would like to thank the University for its behind the scenes support all year, every year, the training staff, as we have a tendency to keep them busy throughout the year, and family friends, significant others.

We would also like to thank all of those, especially those Southwestern lacrosse alumni and families that provided funding along with the university to make our dream come true. While this is only the second championship in SU Lacrosse history, the seeds were planted and the tradition lives because of all those who came before us. It was great to hear from and see the countless alumni at the game.

SU has found out it will be playing the number one seed in the tournament and the number one seed in the national polls for most of the year, the University of San Diego. We are excited to play a team of such caliber and look forward to the trip, and the opportunity to represent Southwestern on a national arena, and the LSA to the best of our ability.

The work the Bucs put in to a 12-2 season has led to them receiving the #14 ranking in the final regular season poll of the year, a jump of 8 spots.

Since there is still lacrosse to play, in the words of Matt Gainey, "Git-R-Done". Stay tuned.

Bill Bowman

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