Young SU team grows up in a Hurry

2/22/03

All year long coach Bowman knew there would be roadblocks to the season. While SU would automatically have some advantage from having been in LSA for three years previously, he also knew that every game must be played, and that you never can tell what the outcome will be when you play teams that you have no history with.

Two of those games he was worried about at the beginning of the year were UTSA (who the Bucs had to come back and beat in overtime), and the team SU hosted on Parent's Weekend (UT-Dallas). All year, when UT-D had shown up to games, the results had been impressive, very impressive. He knew SU would have to play as a team in order to win the game.

Fast forward to Saturday of Parent's weekend. On a beautiful day, and after the women's team came off a convincing win over SHSU, the Bucs took the field against UT-D. From the start it was very apparent UT-D had some exceptional talent on their team. In fact, overall, UT-D had better skilled players than SU. SU simply would not lose, and won the game because they played team lacrosse.

While the scoring numbers may not show the balance the team had on the field, SU improved on so many facets of the game, all of which allowed the team to win a back and forth game in (that's right) OVERTIME, by a score of 15-14.

The game started with SU gaining possession because of an equipment infraction, and allowed SU to ease into the offensive mindset that would be required all day as UT-D, short on numbers quickly showed a zone. SU adjusted its offense and was able to control the ball for a good portion of the first half. In fact, most of the game was spent on the offensive side of SU. UT-D made their scores on fast breaks, and in transition.

By half-time, the game was tied, and the guys knew they needed to buckle down or their chances to keep their playoff hopes alive were over with a loss. The defense made a couple of costly errors in the second half, specifically in the fourth quarter, that allowed the game to get real tight.

At the end of the third SU had taken its largest lead at 10-7 and thought it might be able to put it away. The Comets, however came roaring back to tie the game up in a short period of time. The rest of the game was nip and tuck, seeing UT-D taking its first lead, after tying the game several times with just over 3 minutes to play.

Again, some questionable calls led to a man down that the SU defense was able to stifle, with no real shots on goal.

UT-D did not take care of the ball, and the defense played aggressive, taking the ball away with just over a minute left to play and SU with no timeouts. (sound familiar UTSA) A couple of won ground balls and a big pile up in front of the crease allowed Frank Makal to scoop the ball off the ground and place it in the back of the net with just over 40 seconds remaining to tie the game. This was the second time Frank has done this this year. Each time to keep our playoff hopes alive.

Of course, SU had to be dramatic, and take the game into overtime to give those parents and the fans their money's worth.

SU gained possession of the ball early in the overtime period and called a timeout. They set up a play that worked to perfection. SU brought the ball up from behind, the defense sluffed down, and Caldwell hit Bier up top for an assist, and a ROCKET shot passed the goalie on the bottom right side that the goalie never even saw to end the game.

The assist was Caldwell's first to go along with six goals for the game. The score was the 4th of Biermacher. Bier received the game ball because he, again won almost every face-off, slowed the ball down and controlled the tempo on offense when he easily could have taken shots, and helped to lead the team throughout the game to a win on both sides of the field.

Frank Makal, Barbour, Stein, Helm (1st goal of career) all contributed to the scoring bonanza of the day.

SU looked exceptional in clears, controlled many more ground balls than it had been doing in previous games, and the defense, aside from a couple of costly inopportune mistakes, shut down the excellent shooters of UT-D when they absolutely had to.

One thing that is so impressive about this young team with only 6 upperclassmen, is how they have a never die attitude. Again, to come from behind in a game that meant everything at that moment truly shows not only the potential the team has, but really how far it has come in a short period of time.

Other standout players for the game included Stein for being the iron horse he is. Sometimes we take his presence for granted. Helm stepped in on second line and played very well. Again, in limited playing time Om Panchal showed "game", and Jenkins, Thompson, and Sholars, and Winters all stepped up at long stick. Jeffcoat played well before injuring himself, and Gupta again continues to impress.

Truly a team effort won the game. It will be a good stepping stone as the team faces UH, the number one seed in the Eastern conference after Spring Break, and the pre-season favorite, St. Ed's who has mowed through its early season competition so far.

The last game of the season is against St. Ed's in Austin, with playoff implications abound. Simply put, SU must win, and may need some help. But that depends on how St. Ed's does against western conference leader, and SU's only conference loss, UTA, and a very dangerous UT-D up in Dallas. UTA was fortunate to receive a forfeit from UT-D at the beginning of the year, or that might have been a good game.

Thanks to all the parents and fans who came out and supported the Bucs on Parent's weekend. We are getting to crunch time and will call on your support again.

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