SOUTHWESTERN FINDS ITS STRIDE AT A&M TOURNEY
[11/5/07] The Bucs, after making the decision to forego their own Homecoming and Alumni weekend, made the trip to College Station with two goals in mind. Their coach was desperate to find out which of the 12 new players would be able to contribute as the real season was quickly approaching. What he really wanted to find out, however, was whether the guys on the roster, would learn how to become a team. With the loss of so many seniors and leaders last year, and with several returners/starters studying abroad for the semester, the Bucs were in search of a team identity and some leadership.
Needless to say, the weekend was exactly what the Bucs were looking for as they prepared to close out Fall Ball, and start thinking about one of the toughest schedules in Southwestern Lacrosse history. The Bucs opened up against Austin College and wasted no time, scoring two goals in less than a minute and a half. The Bucs never looked back, holding the Kangaroos scoreless in the first. The attack, missing Jr. Andrew Webb, played solid and controlled the tempo, directing the middies all over the field, and the Bucs were able to get everyone in for meaningful minutes.
The Bucs faced UTA in the second round in a game that showed the Bucs they had some weaknesses to work on. The Bucs pulled off the victory over the Mavericks, but the conditioning of the team, led to many mistakes and a lot of "concrete feet" on the field.
The Bucs left knowing they would play the winner between St. Ed's and SFA, two of the most physical teams in the conference the next day in the Championship. After a close win against SFA, the Hilltoppers and the Bucs once again met in the A&M tourney final for the second year in a row. The Bucs knew they would have to play better than they did the day before to beat such a solid team, and they did. The attack was able to control much of the game, with all the new middies getting a chance to run the field. The defense did an excellent job of closing shooting lanes and protecting the goal, and by the time the clock ticked to zero, the Bucs had not only won their second Championship in as many years at the A&M tourney, but had also found an identity.
I really was worried that with so many leaders graduating, and some of the best candidates to replace them overseas, this would be a bunch of guys that had no idea how to be a team. We lost over 12 guys to graduation, and brought in at least that many who have not been a part of this team to replace them, many new to the game. Southwestern has been successful because the guys work together, believe in each other, and find ways to bring a team effort, in everything they do. This is the first year in a long time that is in question. The A&M tourney was a way for us to take that first step in defining who we are/will be. I was very proud of the way they reacted this weekend, beating three very good conference opponents. We still have a long way to go, but this weekend gave our returners some confidence that the new guys will be able to step up and fill those roles that were lost to graduation, and it gave the new guys a taste of what LSA D II lacrosse is like.
- Bill Bowman