SOUTHWESTERN LACROSSE CAPTURES CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP (5/1/05)
Every once in a while people are part of something special. The
Bucs in '05 fit that bill. Picked 3rd in the LSA Pre-season poll
behind both UTA and Trinity, and coming off a first round loss in
the playoffs last year, the Bucs had quite a few unknowns in
By May 1, 2005, however, the Bucs and the league had found out a
lot about the team. An undefeated conference record, and a
dominant defense had led the Bucs to its best season since the
1989 Championship season over 15 years ago, led the Bucs to the
championship showdown with UTA.
In only its second ever championship game, the Bucs knew they
could play with UTA based on a convincing 11-5 win two short weeks
before in Arlington. They also knew that UTA was a very solid
team, the defending LSA Div. B Champions, and would not go quietly.
Back to that special season. Only four players on the roster come
with lacrosse experience prior to Southwestern. Out of all the USL-
MDIA schools(almost 200 between Division A and B), the Bucs have
the fourth smallest enrollment of any school in the league, and
the Bucs are very young (over half of the team is comprised of
freshmen or sophomores).
All year, SU had found a way to not only win, but get all involved
while doing it. This proved vital in the game against UTA, as
this game was really broken up into a tale of two halves.
Southwestern dominated the 1st and fourth quarters, and UTA
commanded the two in between.
Southwestern came out with an intensity that led to total
domination in the first, with Gainey notching 2 goals and one
assist in the quarter. The second one was his 100th goal of his
short two and a half year career. Pritchett, Weldon, Kerr, and
Wersonske all joined the point party in the first as well, as SU
was in danger of taking off.
SU would not score again until :46 second left in the third
quarter. As the second started, so did the wrath of UTA. Gary's
guys are very well coached and were able to dominate the second
and third quarters, inching their way back into the game, only
down by one at half-time at 5-4.
The picked up the third where they left off, as SU could not clear
the ball, pick up any ground balls, and get the ball out of their
defensive zone for literally almost the entire third quarter.
During that time, Jake was getting pelted with shot after shot,
almost twenty alone in the third quarter. Through it all he let
in only three in the third, in what could have been a runaway lead
by UTA. UTA took a seemingly commanding 7-5 lead to the end of
the third quarter before Freshman Derek Sample notched the first
goal of his career to end the longest drought of the year for the
Shortly after the fourth started, Pritchett raced a rocket shot
past the Mav goalie to tie the game. From then on all fans and
players were on pins and needles. UTA went back up by one 8-7 at
the 13:30 mark, before SU answered back with a goal of their own
by Gainey a minute later to make it 8-8. UTA started racking up
penalties over the next few minutes, but SU could not capitalize.
Finally, after missing an open shot just minutes before, Gainey
fed Wersonske on crease with just under 2 minutes for the go ahead
goal at 9-8. SU was able to win the ball in transition of the
ensuing face-off and with just under a minute left, Gainey fed a
cutting MacConnell for the final goal of the game to give the Bucs
a 10-8 lead and the win.
Southwestern, as it had done all year, showed a resolve and
refused to lose, despite being totally outplayed in the middle of
the game. While no game balls were given, Jake and Gainey took it
upon themselves to keep SU in the game when we really needed it.
Five different scorers again came up big, with six of 10 goal
Not enough can be said for the droves of fans that came up to
support the Bucs for the finals. Every player to a man talked on
the way home how the fans lifted them in the fourth. Our fans
have done that all year, with great family support no matter where
we played. This is a special season to be shared by all.
The team would like to thank the University for its behind the
scenes support all year, every year, the training staff, as we
have a tendency to keep them busy throughout the year, and family
friends, significant others.
We would also like to thank all of those, especially those
Southwestern lacrosse alumni and families that provided funding
along with the university to make our dream come true. While this
is only the second championship in SU Lacrosse history, the seeds
were planted and the tradition lives because of all those who came
before us. It was great to hear from and see the countless alumni
at the game.
SU has found out it will be playing the number one seed in the
tournament and the number one seed in the national polls for most
of the year, the University of San Diego. We are excited to play
a team of such caliber and look forward to the trip, and the
opportunity to represent Southwestern on a national arena, and the
LSA to the best of our ability.
The work the Bucs put in to a 12-2 season has led to them
receiving the #14 ranking in the final regular season poll of the
year, a jump of 8 spots.
Since there is still lacrosse to play, in the words of Matt
Gainey, "Git-R-Done". Stay tuned.
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