The Bucs keep playoff hopes alive with a fantastic finish!
The Bucs travelled down to San Antonio on Sunday to play another first year team in the LSA, and more importantly, a western conference foe, against the UTSA Roadrunners.
This was the first meeting between the two teams. Despite hearing scores from other games, the Bucs did not know what to expect. What they got was one of the most intense games an SU lacrosse team has been a part of in a long time, eking out a come from behind win in overtime 14-13.
The Bucs felt very confidant coming into the game and turned that confidence into three quick scores to start the game before UTSA knew what hit it. Credit must go out to UTSA for an exceptional game, as they remained unflustered the entire day, never allowing SU to pull away by more than three goals at any given time.
By the time the first quarter ended, the Buc's despite dominating face-offs, shots, and time of possession, were only up 5-3. The second and third quarters saw the Bucs cling to the two point lead as the scores on both sides began to mount.
SU suffered its first injury of the year to attackman Dave Caldwell, with little time left in the first quarter, and his presence on the field was immediately noticed. Of the first five goals in the first quarter, Caldwell had one goal and two assists.
His replacement, however, made sure that we did not miss a step the rest of the game at that position, as first year Andrew Kerr filled in, and almost immediately made his presence known with a wrap around goal from behind the crease. Kerr, when the day was done, ended up with two goals of his own, none bigger than the one that put SU back up by two with 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter. He also notched one assist and a unanimous vote for the game ball. That marked the second week in a row where a newcomer to the game of lacrosse has earned top honors, as Jay Gupta did the week before.
The second half saw UTSA continue to keep the pressure on the Bucs, at one time in the third quarter tying the game briefly. At that point, SU saw the momentum shifting away, before scoring three quick goals to take a three goal lead into the fourth quarter.
SU was unable to take care of the ball, however, and received three crucial penalties in the fourth quarter that allowed UTSA to come roaring back. With a little over two minutes in the game, the Bucs received a slashing call and went man down, only to find UTSA score to tie the game.
The penalty that hurt the most was a slash with game tied at 12 with a little over a minute left. As the awesome shooters of UTSA did all day long, once again they found the back of the net with 38 seconds left to take the lead for the first time all day.
Without any timeouts remaining, and the season slipping away, Eric Stein stepped up to face-off once again, controlled it by himself, ran down the field on a fast break and made the early pass to Barbour on the wing, followed by a second pass to Frank Makal in front of the crease. The ball found the back of the net, and it only took 12 seconds to tie it up.
Stein, who played exceptional at face-offs and clears all day, had two goals and one assist. Barbour despite some very costly penalties, had four assists and one goal, and Frank led the team with four goals on the day, none bigger than the one with 26 seconds left to tie the game.
As overtime started, both teams were on edge, as neither defense had been able to stop the other. Both teams had their chances, and UTSA got off many more shots in OT than the Bucs, but the defense did an exceptional job of doing something they hadn't done all game, shutting off the shooters for UTSA.
SU got a man-up with over a minute left in the game and set -up what they thought would be a game winning play. UTSA's defense held strong but was unable to get the ball to their offensive zone.
With less than 10 seconds left, Kerr came from behind the goal, forcing the wing d-man and goalie to slide to him. the shot was stopped, but rebounded right in front of the crease to Big Mark Jurica, whose man had left to cover the second slide. In what seemed like slow motion, Mark caught the ball, and gently placed it in the back of the empty net for his third score of the game, and the game winner.
In all seven SU players scored, nine of the 14 goals were off assists, and the whole team showed early on in the season a determination. Many players played an exceptional game, including Jay Gupta, and Om Panchal, who picked up very important ground balls. Austin Muchmemore also played significant minutes.
The game was a very tough win, and UTSA should be given a lot of credit, with excellent shooters.
The win put SU back in the race for the playoffs, standing at 1-1 for the season in the Western Conference, and 2-1 overall. After everyone's hearts stopped racing, the guys that were here last year took a moment to revel in the fact that we had just equaled our entire wins for all of last season.
This was truly a team effort and hopefully the injuries are minor and they guys will be back for our game against a very good UNT team from Division A next weekend.