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Box Score: SU vs. Montana (5/10/06)

Recap: SU vs. Montana (5/10/06)

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The Bucs travelled to Plano for the national championships with far different goals than the #5 Montana team in the nation. Montana was hungry for a spot in the National Championship. The Bucs were hoping to provide a solid showing against the Griz, and to prove with at least one of the three games they would be playing, that they belonged in the National mix.

The following is the first in a series of four write-ups about the national tournament and the season for the Bucs.

The Bucs showed up to the field to play Montana in a hurried state. After not leaving until the morning of the game day, and then hitting standstill traffic in Dallas, the Bucs did not roll off the vans until about 45 minutes until game time. Everything was rushed. The rush to finish finals, the rush to get to the tournament and field, and the rush to prove that we belonged.

There is/was one problem with that. Each team has its own identity. Each team does things its own way. Rushing for the Bucs is not in their vocabulary. It showed. The Grizzlies controlled the entire game and won easily in a 19-3 rout.

The Bucs, on the other hand did not play Southwestern Lacrosse. Don't get me wrong. The Grizzlies are in a different class. There are about four to five teams in Div. B that simply play at a different level and have the athletes AND experience to put it all together for a total team effort. Montana is definitely one of those teams.

While they deserve all the credit in the world for this game, Southwestern by no means played as they could have. To be clear, Southwestern had about as much chance of winning this game as they did of winning against San Diego last year in the first round.

Nevertheless, The Bucs were still hoping (at least their coach was) to play Southwestern Lacrosse and earn some respect at the national tournament. This game did nothing to garner any support.

Goalie play was suspect and did not have a chance to get in any type of rhythm as shot after shot made it to the cage. Many shots were painting the corners, others were too close to react to as middie defense fell apart on men cutting from week sides. The offense was disappointing as well. The Bucs refused to slow the game down on offense. While playing a blow and go transition game in the LSA works on many levels, against Montana, it played into their hands. Not once did our offense really work together (even stringing around three or more passes to set up the offense was non-existent), with too many guys trying to go by excellent defenders and slides on their own. In essence the Bucs did not pass the ball at all.

By halftime the score was 8-2, with Webb scoring both goals, one on an assist from Jones on a man-up. The second half saw the team that usually is unflapped by anything or anyone totally deflated. The only score came in the fourth on a beautiful move by Jones, who had an excellent tournament.

While the end was predictable, the outcome and how we got there was very disappointing. The Bucs were an unknown to all the other teams, as they knew no one gave them or the LSA much more than a passing thought. With the team they had this year that could truly adapt to any style of play, they were prepared in the first game to get off to a solid beginning and set the tone (in their minds)for the rest of the tournament.

Credit goes to Montana for taking what we gave them (everything) and for playing an excellent tournament.

After seeing several other games in the day, the Bucs knew that any other team in the losers bracket would give the Bucs a very solid chance at a win at the national tournament. The next day, the Bucs were able to play Augustana from the GRLC. The hope was that the real Buc team would show up.

- Bill Bowman

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