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[2/22/09] Over the past few years the biggest rival to Southwestern has been St. Edward's University, right down I-35 in Austin. Southwestern and St. Ed's have managed to meet in the conference finals 3 of the last 4 years and met in the semi-finals the other one. To say these two teams have a sound knowledge and healthy respect for each other, is an understatement.

As fate would have it, in the Bucs final club season, the schedule paired what usually is one of the last games for each team of the regular season, as the opening game of conference play for both. Fortunately the game was held on the Bucs home turf on Family Weekend this year.

The Bucs knew coming in that once again they would have to go through St. Ed's in order to have a chance at the Conference Championship in April. They also knew that with the finality of this season as the Bucs go varsity next year, they wanted to keep a tradition going that started back in 2005. The Bucs over the last 4 years have not lost a conference game, including playoffs. They are 24-0, and since 2004, the Bucs are 32-2. While a lofty goal at best, the Bucs have hopes of bringing home another undefeated conference season and 5th straight Conference Championship in 2009.

They knew, however, that none of that could happen without hard work and without getting past St. Edward's, probably twice in one season. With this in mind, the Bucs showed up on Sunday prepared for a tough battle with the Hilltoppers. No matter where each team is or has been, each time they get together, sparks fly and physical lacrosse is played.

The Bucs were prepared for a battle and the game started out with both teams full of energy. On this day, however, the Bucs were able to get all of their midfielders involved and shut down the offense of St. Ed's most of the day. The Bucs started the scoring and quickly added a couple of more before St. Ed's placed their lone goal of the day past McDonough before the first quarter came to an end. The Bucs finished the quarter with a 4-1 lead and added 3 more in the second to take a 7-1 lead into halftime in front of the largest crowd of the season. As the second half started, McDonough turned the net over to Walker, who had something to prove. Not only did Walker play brilliantly, making several saves, but his decision making, passing and hustle was infectious for the rest of the team, as ground balls were handled much better in the second half by the entire team.

By the end of the third quarter, the Bucs had managed to increase their lead to 12-1 and finished off the day with a 16-1 win. All players were able to get solid playing time. The entire attack unit was able to get on the board, but the day belonged to the middies. St Ed's was unable to control or stop the middies on offense or in transition all day, and the Bucs were able to capitalize. Mock, playing with a heavy heart was able to score a goal early in the first and was all over the place the entire day. Faulk played his best game as a Buc, with 2 goals that were brilliant. He is really starting to pose a threat to other teams and it is fun to watch. Derek must have taken 30 (well it seemed like it) shots on the day in an attempt to jump start his offensive prowess for the season. He was able to find the back of the net in the second half. We expect that to only continue. Heath is turning into an all American candidate at middie and face-offs, and turned in another stellar performance on the day. Connor and Shug both got on the scoreboard as well (go vegetarians!!!!!), with Shug notching his first ever Southwestern goal off an assist by Luther.

All in all, 9 players scored and everyone got lots of playing time in the big conference win. Parker is starting to get on the field more, and was able to win his one face-off of the day. Jesus got good playing time for the first time all year and has a knee bruise to show for it. Hanson is getting much closer to finding the net, and we expect him to be able to do so very soon.

The defense played solid all day with Howe, Fern, Fletch, and Tomasz all making solid contributions on the day. Lange played well at LSM the entire day. The Bucs never know how a conference game against St. Ed's will turn out, but always expect the worst. This win was a testament to the hard work they have been putting on this season and is a sign of the potential the Bucs do have this season.

The Bucs would like to thank Heather, our trainer for spending the afternoon with us, and all of the fans, family and friends that were on the sidelines. The Bucs, now 3-0 at home are hosting upstart Centenary College out of Shreveport, LA., another LSA D2 conference opponent next Sunday, and hope to continue their conference win streak.

- Bill Bowman