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A FITTING END TO A SPECIAL GAME

[1/31/09] On December 3, 1983 Southwestern Lacrosse played its first game ever on campus against none other than the Baylor Bears. They lost 1-21. Since that time, Southwestern has played Baylor more than any other team in its history, a total of 33 times. The record has been decidedly in favor of Baylor with an 11-21 record, and Baylor controlling the past two games rather easily.

On Saturday, January 31st, 2009 the Bucs stepped on the field for the first game of their final season as a club team ever. Ironically enough, it was the Baylor Bears, an LSA D1 team that they were hosting. With so much riding on this year, the Bucs are ready to do everything in their power to ensure that on the 25th Anniversary Season, every game has special meaning not only for them as they close out an era, but for all those Southwestern Lacrosse Alums through the years that have helped to make Southwestern Lacrosse what it is today.

As we have embarked on this journey, however, embracing the past, we are also looking forward to the new beginning of Southwestern Lacrosse as the transition from club to Varsity is underway at the school. In hopes of bridging that gap, the new Coach, Joe Ernst, has made it clear that he wants to be a part of the this team, and to carry on the tradition that Southwestern Lacrosse has created over the years. In fact, he has been very willing to come out to practice when he can and help our team as much as possible.

Saturday was special as Monty Curtis and Stacy Flood, the heart and soul of Southwestern Lacrosse, were once again on the sidelines where they are for every game. Standing next to me was also Coach Ernst, who graciously agreed to help run defense for the game. The past, present and future of Southwestern Lacrosse were all their to help the Bucs as they faced a formidable Baylor team.

The guys on the team have poured their hearts into preparing for this season, and had spent a solid three weeks preparing for this season and this first game. They did the drills, the conditioning and were very prepared for the game. In fact, when the game started, the Bucs were so amped up, they were to tight, tried to hard, and found themselves in an 0-2 deficit before the first two minutes of the game even ticked off the clock. By the end of the quarter the Bucs trailed 4-2 as many open opportunities went awry, and numerous balls were dropped and ground balls missed.

As the second quarter started, however, the Bucs started to find their rhythm and gain some momentum, placing three in the back of the net to Baylor's one, to bring the halftime score to 5 -5.

The 3rd quarter has always been an interesting quarter for the Bucs, often coming out flat. However, on this day, the Bucs came out and outhustled the Bears in every facet of the game, placing 4 goals in the net within a span of 6 minutes to take what would become a commanding lead, as Baylor never got any closer than 3 the rest of the day.

The attack rode like I have never seen before, and the middies and defense were all over the field conceding nothing in the air or on the ground. Much of this was without Captain Webb as he had been sick all week and played til his body shut down on him with about 7 minutes left in the 3rd. As he left, Carney, a starting defender last year, and starting attackman this year, stepped it up in his first game ever for SU in that position and proceeded to find the back of the net no less than 5 times. His great play earned him one of the two game balls for the day. The other going to freshman defender Steve Howe, who has really impressed with his work ethic and relentless field play.

All day long the the Bucs were able to find ways to score and control the game. Whether it was Luther's amazing goal in the second that really fired up the guys, or all of the middies and their relentless play all over the field, or McDonough being McDonough making great save after save and finding streaking players in transition with pinpoint passes, every single person contributed to this first win of the season. Titus, Shug, Connor, Derek and Mock all did an excellent job. Irish and Webb also showed why they are All American candidates once again this year. Heath won most every face-off and was all over the field as well, including a couple of pretty goals and an assist. The defense, with Fletch, Howe and long time Buc Alex Gette were able to really put the pressure on the Bears once we got on the same page defensively as well. It is great to have Gette back in a Southwestern Lacrosse uniform. As in the past, we expect great things from him.

All in all, this couldn't have been a better start to such a meaningful season. The fans, and parents on the sidelines were out in full force, and the weather was perfect. I would like to thank Monty and Stacy, as well as Coach Ernst for doing all the stuff behind the scenes and believing, like I do, that the guys on the team are the best anywhere to be found. What a season this is going to be!!!

The Bucs have a very short week, as we head up to Arkansas on Friday to face the #20 team in the nation and more importantly a team we have never beaten, in Harding. This will be yet another early season test for the Bucs. The following day, the Bucs will play DIII Hendrix, a team that the Bucs played last year in their inaugural season as a Varsity program, and a team that the Varsity team will play next year as well. There is no rest for the Bucs.

However, they are ready and excited for each game, knowing it will be the last time they play these teams ever.

Stay tuned.

- Bill Bowman