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SOUTHWESTERN HOSTS THE #1 TEAM IN THE NATION IN 9-5 LOSS

[2/26/08] On Tuesday night, the Bucs hosted the Westminster Griffins from Salt Lake City, Utah in Georgetown under the lights. Westminster new to the league last year showed very quickly it was one of the premiere teams in Division 2, losing to the eventual National Champions in the semifinals by one, and earning the #1 ranking in the national poll this year.

This year the Griffins picked up where they left off from last year losing a close game in the last minute of play to the #21 team in the nation in D1 during their season opener. For their Spring Break Westminster decided to travel down to the Lone Star state for a couple of games against the LSA D2.

Southwestern knew its young team would have to play not only a complete game, but a game they hav not put together all year. While sporting a 2-3 record, the Bucs had played three of the top teams in the LSA's upper division already (its only three losses) in order to prepare the Bucs for the game against the Griffins.

As the game started both teams spent time feeling each other out before the Griffins found the back of the net twice to take a 2-0 lead into the second quarter. The Bucs responded a couple of minutes into the second stanza off a feed from Connor Hanrahan — who had a breakout game and received the game ball for his performance all over the field the entire night — to Ben Milovich who made a great shot from the crease to bring the Bucs within 1. The Bucs socred again to tie the game up when Webb took a feed from Connor again before the Griffins scored one more time to bring the halftime score to 3-2.

The Bucs fell prey to 4 goals by the Griffins in the third before answering back with one in the last minute to bring the score to 7-3 after three quarters. The Bucs got as close as 8-5 before Westminster was able to put one in to bring the final score to 9-5. The Bucs had many chances, missing one on ones and missing a golden opportunity in the last minute of the game with a three man up opportunity to bring the score closer.

The shots, saves, and face-offs were relatively even for the game. The Griffins were a well-coached and very talented team. The Bucs came to play and did an excellent job of staying with them all night, limiting fast break opportunities, and making overall solid decisions with the ball. Many of the goals for the Griffins came from great outside shooters up top.

All the Bucs played an amazing game. The defense did a tremendous job, including Jake at LSM, and all three close defenders. All the middies really stepped up their intensity and had great impact on the game with their hustle. Even though we were missing Heath, our best middie, the middies rallied around the defense and the attack and were able to play beyond their years of experience the entire night, especially in between the boxes. McDonough, one of the best goalies in the nation no one knows about, played another excellent game in goal, making many point blank saves and thwarting many other shots.

The game proved to the Bucs they can play with any team in the nation, as Westminster is as good as they get.

Webb, two weeks after Bryson accomplished the same goal, became only the 13th player in Southwestern's 25-year history to achieve the 100 point mark. He has done so in only two years time.

We certainly appreciate the Griffins for making the trip during their Spring Break and allowing us to play them. They are a classy organization, and we wish them the best of luck the rest of the season.

For the Bucs this was the breakout game they needed in so many ways, as their season does not get any easier. With a DIII school, a top ten team and another staunch LSA D1 opponent on the schedule in the coming months -- not to mention a big game against SFA this weekend — the Bucs do not get any breaks this season.

We are looking forward to Saturday when we host the SFA Lumberjacks, back after a couple of years out of the league. The Lumberjacks have been tearing through the LSA2 with relative ease, and will be a very tough test for the Bucs.

- Bill Bowman