On Sunday after 26 years of club play, the Bucs Lacrosse team took the field as a NCAA Varsity team. First was a scrimmage against the University of Texas Longhorns club team. Working out the jitters took some time, as the Longhorns controlled the ball for most of the game. The largely rookie defense did its best against the seasoned offense of the Longhorns, allowing many players their baptism of fire, and finally getting to run their much practiced defensive sets against someone other than teammates in practice. The Horns won handily and went on to dominate the day overall.
In the second game, many of the nerves had worked their way out, and the team played much more strongly against the Sam Houston State Bearcats. Calming down, the Bucs controlled the ball on the offensive end of the field, while effectively disrupting the Bearcats offense on the other end. The Bucs carried the game against the Bearcats vastly improved team from the year before.
The final game of the day for the Bucs was against the Texas State Bobcats, who had previously given the Horns a very tough game. The Bucs played with heart, but the long day stretched legs thin, and the Bobcats were able to control the game. Despite the fatigue, the young Bucs remained cool, running plays and executing defensive schemes well.
After the final whistle blew, spirits were high for the Bucs. “The fan support was great,” said first-year captain Ed Williams, “and while we will use this as a building block towards the regular season, and I can’t wait to get started in the spring.”
Junior captain Luther Faulk was concerned about the image presented to the rest of the lacrosse world. “I think that overall the tournament was a success in that it gave us playing experience, which is essential at this point. We won an important matchup against Sam Houston, and despite the fact that I wish we could have played better against UT and Texas State, it showed us what we need to work on.
My expectations are that we set off a good first impression of Southwestern Lacrosse and that we will be a force to reckoned with, if not now, soon. I want what I feel everyone on our team wants… to work hard and win in doing so,” Faulk said.
The team overall seemed to enjoy the day and was encouraged by the spirit the team had. “I have never been on a team with so much heart. I’ll play with these boys any day!” said sophomore Donnie Murray.
Many of the parents were generous enough to organize a tailgate with barbecue and fruit after the games, so for a while after the games, the parents and players mingled, meeting and greeting one another.
Coach Joe Ernst was pleased by the day overall, not just his team’s performance. “Our First Annual Pirates Fall Classic was a huge success. We had four great lacrosse teams on campus, had a day filled with great competition, reconnected with alumni and connected with the families of the current players. We got a win and got the chance to see where we needed more work for the spring season. I am proud of how far the players on this inaugural team have come and look forward to a successful and fun season,” he said.
The Bucs will next take the field in January in an alumni game and then will begin regular season play in February. Being a largely underclassmen team, there is a lot of work to be done, with team bonding and still coming to trust one another, but the Bucs look forward to the work with relish, ready to make a Texan mark in the Lacrosse world.
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