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SOUTHWESTERN WINS ITS FINAL A&M TOURNEY

[12/1/08] Southwestern arrived in College Station with many of the usual questions to be answered. How would the team compare to last year, to the new talent on other teams this year, and would the team be able to fill the holes left behind and prepare for the upcoming season? The Bucs, however, knew this would also be their last A&M tourney ever, as just weeks before, the team received word that after years of hoping, the University was making Lacrosse a Varsity sport starting in 2009-2010. The Bucs entered the tourney having won the previous two Fall tourneys, and wanted to make sure that while giving the new players some opportunities to play, and learn, they came away with another tournament victory to add to their storied 25 year history. They did just that.

The Buc opened up the tournament with a game against SFA and wasted no time getting on the board and taking control of the game, winning by a final of 12-2. Everyone got in and the new players got their first taste of conference play. The win against SFA was followed up with a game against Austin College, an up and coming team and hopefully a team that will follow Southwestern into the Varsity ranks before too long. Again, the Bucs showed great poise and purpose, winning 10-1, and giving everyone extended playing time. Carney really stepped it up after starting at defense last year, as he transitioned to crease attack. The middie lines did n exceptional job of controlling the middle of the field and possession, and the rest of the attack looked to be in mid season form.

At the end of the day, the Bucs knew they would play long time rival St. Ed's for the tournament Championship for the third year in a row. The Bucs came out on Sunday having many opportunities to score but missing all of them. Carney, so good in the first day of play missed numerous wide open shots and many others just missed key passes or shots in the first half. St. Ed's, however was able to capitalize on an unsettled situation and place a nice shot in the back of the goal to take a 1-0 lead into the half.

In the second, with a few penalties by St. Ed's and some determined Bucs, the shots came a little more on target and the Bucs were able to take a 4-1 lead before each team added one more to end the game. This was, as always, a very spirited game and one that will undoubtedly be a repeat this Spring when the Bucs host the Hilltoppers at Southwestern.

In the end, the Bucs, old and new, were able to come away with a good sense of what the different teams in conference were going to be like this coming Spring. They realized there are definitely a few things that need to be worked on, some chemistry issues that must be worked out, and some gaps that are going to have to be filled in order for the Bucs to repeat as conference champions in '09. The win marked the last time the Bucs would travel to A&M for the tourney, having done so for the better part of the past 20 years. For years, the Bucs have used the tournament as an opportunity for the individuals and the team to gain valuable experience while playing competitive teams s they prepare for the upcoming season. Once again, the mission was accomplished.

The Bucs headed home with the trophy, a understanding of what they need to do as they prepare to embark on their most challenging regular season schedule ever, and hopes of making their 25th Anniversary and final season one that will be remembered long after the Varsity team has taken the field.

Til the season....

- Bill Bowman