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(SU v. HARDING)

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spacer spacer  MEN'S LACROSSE: 2007 SEASON GAME SUMMARIES spacer
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SOUTHWESTERN LOSES TOUGH GAME TO #6 HARDING AT HOME (3/31/07)

On Saturday, March 31st, Southwestern hosted the Harding Bison, the #6 team in the nation out of the GRLC Conference. The Bucs, with the loss of the Automatic Qualifier, knew that to have any chance at making it to the National Tournament in Dallas this year, they had to win.

In fact, after finding out we lost the AQ early in the year, many of the games became "must wins" if the Bucs wanted to be in Dallas in May. To this point, the Bucs were up to the task, finding a way to work through injuries, have others step up, and continuously getting better as a team, with our defense serving as the catalyst for everything else.

After a terrible week of weather and the guys from Harding being a little delayed because of the weather they were traveling through, the game started on what turned out to be a wonderful day. The field, while cut very high because of rain all week, was in excellent shape.

After the loss last year in Searcy, the Bucs knew that Harding was a formidable opponent, but one that the Bucs could play against.

The game started much as the one last year, with Daulton scoring quickly. This was followed by another score, shortly after on a man-up, one of 12+ for the day that the Bucs would have, on a shot by Wersonske to give the Bucs a 2-0 lead.

The Bucs would finally relinquish the lead early in the 2nd quarter as Harding was able to get a several goal run, full of mistakes by the Bucs that Harding was able to capitalize on. Two separate times in the game, Harding went on a several goal spree, only to see the Bucs go on one themselves to bring the score back to within one or to tie it.

The game was truly one of waves for both sides.

In fact, with 30 seconds remaining in the third, the Bucs were able to bring the score to 7-8 before allowing a goal in with only 6 to go. Harding never looked back. SU pressured and looked out of sync the entire quarter, not knowing where or how to attack Harding, while allowing Harding to score 3 in the final stanza, one with less than 10 seconds left in the game to bring the final score to 12-7 in favor of Harding.

With the loss, the Bucs know it will be tough to crack the top 12 spots for a national at large bid.

The Bucs had many chances. They simply could not capitalize on opportunities, dropping passes on wide open shots, and failing to go better than 2-12 on man-ups. Harding, on the other hand, had one of the best attack units in the nation and was able to make the Bucs pay for every little mistake they made. It would have been fun to watch if Webb was healthy to see how he and #21 from Harding would have faired head to head, especially after seeing both in action this year.

Wersonske had a solid game, as did Jones, playing less than 100% on the hurt ankle. The Bucs, as the always do, had moments of brilliance. We also showed what separates top teams from teams that are almost there. Harding doesn't make many mistakes, and they are able to capitalize on those of others. After a great weekend in Illinois, the Bucs were simply outplayed by Harding, who deserved the win.

We appreciate them coming down to play us, and wish them luck in their Conference tournament.

- Bill Bowman



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