This year marked history this weekend, after a long 25 years, the Southwestern Men’s Lacrosse Club stepped on their home field for the last time. The club will be replaced in the fall by an NCAA team, the first in the state of Texas.
The lacrosse club was formed in 1983, and began playing regularly in 1984. Highlights have included winning the Southwest Lacrosse Association championship in 1989 over the dominant University of Texas team. More recently, as a member of the Lonestar Alliance conference of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, the Buc’s have not lost a game in conference play for four straight seasons, winning bids to the National tournament. Last year the Club won its first National’s game against the seventh seeded Fort Lewis Skyhawks, winning with a score of 12-8, for the only upset of the Tournament.
This year, the Club has returned in similar fashion, and, despite a few bumps along the road, has kept up its winning fashion, winning an important out-of-conference game against Baylor and other teams. Despite losing some players to injuries and time conflicts, the Club entered this weekend with its undefeated conference record intact.
For these last two games, Monty Curtis and Stacy Flood, two Southwestern Alumni who have been with the Club since its existence in some role or another, were the official coaches.
Saturday, the Club was supposed to face off against Stephen F. Austin State University, until the Lumberjacks were only able to field eight players, two less than then the minimum required to play. After waiting an hour to see if more showed up, the Jack’s forfeited. The official score was 1-0, the closest conference score of the season for the Club. The point was officially awarded to Senior James Walker, one of the goalies.
Sunday, the Club faced off against Trinity, and was more than ready to make up for lost time. From the first whistle, the Club was able to possess the ball, running plays and getting valuable playing time for the less experienced players. In addition to Senior Heath Thompson and Sophomore Thomas Mock’s usual dominance on face-off, First-Year Jack Parker won the majority of face-offs. Senior Titus Hawthorn, in addition to his goals, decided to try facing off, and had some success.
The defense was able to hold the Tigers to three, with one of the points coming during a three man down situation. Senior Ian Flechsig, along with Sophomore Dave Tomasz and First-Year Stephen Howe covered their attackmen, and as the game progressed, started running the ball all the way down on clears, attempting several shots. At long stick middle, Sophomores Sam Marsh and Chris Lange covered the field well, also getting several clears, as helping to prevent several in the other direction. Lange attempted several shots, but was unsuccessful.
On offense, the Bucs were able to play at will from the first possession. The attack rotated throughout the day, including Senior Andrew Webb, who ran the ball around at will, and Sophomore Nate Carney running free on the crease. Seniors Heath Thompson and the newly returned Martin Irish swapped in and ran plays, getting Irish valuable field time before next Sunday’s conference championship in Austin. Although too many Bucs scored to list in such a short article, standouts included Senior James Walker, with a beautiful quick-stick goal on the crease, off of a perfect feed by Thompson.
This weekend marked the end of the Buc’s Lacrosse club’s last game, but sets up a precedent for next year’s varsity team to build on. Coach Monty Curtis was not at a loss for words, “Sunday’s game was very special to me. Having been associated with the team since its inception, I have witnessed the club evolve into a distinctive and positive influence on the lives of so many individuals, including myself. To be given the opportunity to lead the men onto the field one last time was a tremendous honor and one for which I will always be appreciative. I tip my hat to Coach Bill Bowman and Stacy Flood who have taken the team to a level of success that would have been considered impossible in those early years. I also want to congratulate Coach Joe Ernst and challenge him to continue to build on the wonderful foundation provided as we transition to the varsity level.”
Like Coach Curtis, most of the team was looking forward to Conference and Nationals, while remembering the Club’s history: “It was good looking to the middle of the field to all of our seniors as we played our last home game ever on the intramural fields. An even better sight was seeing the big man James Walker hitting that quick stick to the back of the net! I will miss playing with all the seniors, as I miss playing with last year’s seniors,” said Carney.
The club will play Sunday at Westlake High School in Austin, at 11 a.m. for the Lonestar Alliance conference Championship, and hopefully, in Denver at the MCLA at the National tournament, where they will try to improve from last year’s first round victory over Fort Lewis University.
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