Monthly Archives: April 2010

Western College MCLA Men’s Lacrosse: Colorado State Men’s Lacrosse (14-2) Faces Utah In First Round Of Conference Playoffs


After a near-perfect regular season, the CSU men’s lacrosse team is going into the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.

CSU midfielder Greyson Konkel (49) protects the ball against a University of Colorado defender on April 4 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The team is now headed to the RMLC tournament in Provo, Utah.

The RMLC tournament, held in Provo, Utah, also includes Utah, CU-Boulder and BYU. The Rams (14-1) will face Utah in the first round today, a team they handled easily during the regular season, 12-4.

CSU played most of the season undefeated with their only loss coming at the hands of the University of Michigan 10-6 on April 11. Other than that game, the Rams have dominated their competition, nearly doubling opponents in total goals scored 204-103 throughout the season.

Such an overpowering campaign brings the team into the conference tournament with plenty of confidence in their chances to come back RMLC champions. The championship would be the first for CSU since 2006.

Senior and team captain Cooper Kehoe is a force to be reckoned with on offense, leading the team in goals, assists and points.

“I think we’re pretty confident,” Kehoe said. “We’ve pretty much had conference games this whole time so far, so we just need to keep doing the things we do and go with the flow.” Head coach Alex Smith knows that his team is as good or better than any other team in the tournament, but wants to make sure they do not look too far ahead.

Date Opponent Result
2/17 at Northern Colorado   W, 17-6
2/20 at Colorado College   L,  12-7
2/26 at Lindenwood   W, 17-4
2/27 vs. Texas   W, 12-6
3/05 SIMON FRASER   W, 12-6
3/07 NEW HAMPSHIRE   W, 14-6
3/13 at Arizona State   W, 14-10
3/15 at Arizona   W, 13-8
3/17 vs. Chico State   W, 14-2
3/24 vs. Utah   W, 12-4
3/27 UTAH STATE   W, 17-5
4/03 vs. Colorado   W, 13-6
4/09 MINNESOTA – DULUTH   W, 13-6
4/11 MICHIGAN   L,  10-6
4/18 MICHIGAN STATE   W, 13-7
4/24 BRIGHAM YOUNG   W, 10-5
4/30 vs. Utah 4:00 pm
Coach: Alex Smith

“It is definitely going to be challenging,” Smith said. “If we can get through Friday, I think we have a good shot.”

The previous meeting between the Rams and Utes provides the team with additional confidence because they have an idea of what to expect from Utah.

Senior Andrew Stein expects his team to come out and play a complete game in order to repeat its success against the Utah.

“We’re looking to come out and take care of business like we did last time,” Stein said. “We’ve learned that we need to put together four quarters and a full game.”

If CSU defeats Utah to advance to the finals, either team they could face, CU or BYU should serve as a quality matchup.

“Both teams are such good rivals that, either way, it will be an intense, passionate game,” Smith said. “From our point of view, we will take on whoever it is, but none of that matters until we get through Utah.”

Being the No. 1 team puts a huge bull’s eye on the back of CSU, but the players are not feeling any of that pressure.

“I don’t feel like there is that much pressure and it’s nice right now because we get to play the No. 4 team,” Kehoe said. “I think we know what we have to do and we’ve played every team, so we know what each team has.”

The coaching staff has worked all year to prepare the player for what is required from a championship-caliber team.

“This week we’ve focused on coming together as a team and having fun,” Smith said. “We’re starting to get the flow of what it takes to be a championship type of team and the guys have really responded well.”

http://www.collegian.com/index.php/article/2010/04/043010_csu_lacrosse_heads_to_rmlc_tournament

Western College Men’s Lacrosse: #7 BYU Men’s Lacrosse (10-4) To Play #6 Colorado In Conference Semifinals After Losing 14-11 On April 26


The BYU men’s lacrosse team will play in the semi finals of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Championships tonight at 7 at BYU’s North University Fields.

The match will be held against the Colorado Buffaloes, ranked No. 6 in the country.

On Monday, BYU lost to the Buffaloes 14-11. But the Cougars aren’t getting discouraged.

Instead, they’re taking the matchup as a challenge.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” head coach Matt Schneck said. “It’s not often you get to play the same team in the same week.”

Schneck is coming to the end of his first year as head coach, but this part of the season is not unfamiliar to him. This is his ninth year overall. Over those years, BYU has won the RMLC Championship four times and the Men’s College Lacrosse Association National Championship once.

Date Opponent Result
2/11 at San Diego State   W, 13-5
2/13 at Chapman   L,  12-11 (OT)
2/15 vs. UC Santa Barbara   W, 12-11 (OT)
2/27 UTAH VALLEY STATE   W, 15-10
3/06 MICHIGAN   L,  13-9
3/10 WESTMINSTER   W, 22-6
3/13 MONTANA   W, 29-2
3/18 at Washington   W, 16-7
3/20 at Simon Fraser   W, 15-9
4/02 UTAH STATE   W, 23-4
4/09 SONOMA STATE   W, 8-7
4/10 vs. Utah   W, 17-7
4/24 at Colorado State   L,  10-5
4/26 at Colorado   L,  14-11
4/30 COLORADO 7:00 pm
Coach: Matt Schneck

This year, BYU is ranked No. 7 in the country, with a 10-4 record (2-2 divisional).  Of the four games they’ve lost, three have been on the road. Schneck said the team is glad to be back on their home field for such an important game.

The team isn’t just sitting back, though, counting on the magic of the home turf and cheering fans.

“Colorado has never won a conference championship,” Schneck said. “BYU has won the last three conference championships. So, I think that they are going to come out extremely motivated. Colorado’s going to come out ready to play. We expect that it’s going to be a very difficult game.”

For Schneck, everything in the year has been leading up to this point.

“For us, this is a pinnacle part of our season,” Schneck said. “Everything that we do throughout the course of the season is preparing us for this. … What we do during the year is in preparation to win the conference championship and then go on to the national championship.”

Schneck is looking at the here and now for today’s game.

“It’s kind of that time of the year where it doesn’t matter what your win-loss record is,” Schneck said. “Now it’s all about having to win or your season’s done for the most part because you’ve got to the playoffs and the tournament.”

If the Cougars win this game, BYU will go on to play the RMLC championship game at home on Saturday at 5 p.m.

http://universe.byu.edu/node/8031

California College Women’s Lacrosse: Redlands Women’s Lacrosse (10-6) Tournament Against 1st Round Opponent Whittier


When the University of Redlands first started its women’s lacrosse program in 1999, six players with actual lacrosse experience showed up.

Bulldogs' Ashley Finke (left) and Christy Smith at the draw during practice at the University of Redlands' Farquar Fields on Thursday April 29, 2010. Milka Soko / Special to The Press-Enterprise

Coming from the Northeast where the sport is wildly popular, Coach Suzette Soboti knew she had some work to do to grow the program in the Inland Empire.

Twelve years later, the Bulldogs have a roster that spans 10 states and a reputation as a program that continues to grow as the sport grows roots in Southern California.

Redlands, which previously played as a Division III independent, is now part of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s inaugural season, and begins play in the first SCIAC tournament on Saturday at Whittier. Redlands (5-3 in conference, 10-6 overall) is the No. 2 seed and will play the host school at 2:30 p.m.

“Being in a conference elevates the level of play,” Soboti said. “Because you have something to play for, it elevates the level of play for all teams.”

The SCIAC requires five teams to make a sport eligible for a conference championship. Redlands, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Whittier and Pomona-Pitzer had been playing as independents, but when Occidental bumped its program up from club to varsity this year, the conference added women’s lacrosse as a championship sport. Because there are only five teams in the SCIAC, there is no automatic qualifier for the Division III national tournament, but that doesn’t matter to those looking for a place to play in Inland Southern California.

“We’re just getting better each year,” said junior Christy Smith, who came to Redlands from Minnesota and grew up playing hockey. She started playing lacrosse as a sophomore in high school and decided to continue her career on the west coast.

Date Opponent Result
2/24 OCCIDENTAL   W, 18-3
2/27 at Dallas   W, 23-3
2/28 vs. Colorado College   L,  15-7
3/12 CARTHAGE   W, 20-5
3/13 SEWANEE   L,  20-12
3/16 FROSTBURG STATE   W, 13-4
3/17 FONTBONNE   W, 10-4
3/19 GOUCHER   L,  15-12
3/20 PUGET SOUND   W, 16-10
3/24 CLAREMONT-MUDD-SCRIPPS   L,  16-5
3/27 POMONA-PITZER   W, 20-14
3/31 WHITTIER   W, 15-7
4/03 at Occidental   W, 21-15
4/14 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps   L,  16-6
4/20 at Pomona-Pitzer   L,  17-16
4/25 at Whittier   W, 19-11
5/01 at Whittier 2:30 pm
5/04 ADRIAN 4:00 pm
Coach: Suzette Soboti

“After visiting the campus I fell in love with it,” she said, adding she figured the program would eventually get into a conference, but “I didn’t know if I would be here for that or not.”

Smith leads the team with 52 goals and 63 points. Most of the current players have similar lacrosse experience, with the exception of senior Sean Hansen, a biology and psychology major from Bend, Ore., who picked up the game through a one-unit PE class at Redlands.

“I’d never even seen a game when I started playing,” said Hansen, who’s played the past three seasons.

Soboti said the sport is growing in Southern California, with high schools and club teams from Orange County to Santa Barbara getting in on the action. That makes recruiting a little easier and adds to the level of experience of the incoming players.

“We’re a diverse team in how long we’ve been playing and where we’re coming from,” Hansen said. “(But) we’re really focused on the team … We don’t worry about how long we’ve been playing or how long we’ve been in the program.”

Redlands graduated seven players from last year’s team, leaving plenty of questions heading into the inaugural SCIAC season. U of R has had a winning record in eight of its 12 seasons, but the first season as a conference member is different.

“The progress since January is impressive,” Soboti said. “Finishing second the first year in conference, I’m happy with that. Am I satisfied with that? No, but I’m happy with that.”

Top-seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (12-2, 8-0) will play Pomona-Pitzer in the first game Saturday. The tournament final is Sunday at 1 p.m.

http://www.pe.com/sports/college/breakout/stories/PE_Sports_Local_W_redlands_lacrosse_30.480adb8.html

Colorado High School Boys Lacrosse: Disparity In Competition Between School Lacrosse Programs Fuels Call For Splitting State Into Two Divisions


A program that vows to challenge and inspire the very people whose primary reason for being there is simply to have “fun.”

Those ideas all come from the mission statement and core values of the Colorado High School Activities Association, or CHSAA, and most of the time, I would agree that it delivers.

The Arapahoe High School's boys lacrosse team beat Cherry Creek 7-6. The Warriors are the defending state champions. Karl Gehring, The Denver Post

Of course, there’s always the occasional noninspiring harangue between coaches and officials. Or the rare but unforgettable moments when I’ve watched kids cutting their toenails while riding the ole’ pine and wondered if this is really a program pushing kids to meet “their highest potential.”

For all that’s good about high school athletics right now, one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation, lacrosse, is also quickly becoming a problem.

Most of those in attendance for the Windsor vs. Fort Collins lacrosse game at French Field last week knew they were filing in to see a blowout.

Even so, as I watched the Vipers pour in seven goals before the Wizards could attempt their next shot, I had to wonder: Are they having fun yet?

Are they out there savoring their piece of another “equitable opportunity?”

Fort Collins, to its credit, did not run up the score on its way to a 16-1 win. The Vipers used up the starters and the junior varsity players before asking Aunt Edna in row 12 if she wanted to come play goal for a quarter or two.

There was no ill-will, no statement to be made, no sense of competition either.

The lacrosse problem centers on the lack of classification and an overabundance of “unified” schools, which serves to fuel the growing disparity across the state.

The “have-and-have-not” culture of lacrosse is an issue that CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann says is “on the radar” for committees to wrestle with in the near future.

The next opportunity to discuss any sort of changes for lacrosse is two years away at the next executive session for the Board of Control.

How many nets have to die between now and then?

Windsor outscored Englewood 25-1 in the season opener and followed that up with a 20-5 loss to Boulder. Teams at the very bottom aren’t even competitive with average teams, let alone the elite programs that draw from five or more large schools.

Granted, no amount of regulation will prevent the occasional blowout, but forming two classes and revisiting the unification rules would go a long way in keeping Aunt Edna in the stands.

Making two state champions out of just 63 teams seems a little extreme until you consider that baseball crowns a champ for just 39 teams at the Class 1A level, and football breaks down even further: 6-man (20 teams), Class 1A (36), Class 3A (40).

Since the 2005 season, the Class 4A State Basketball Tournament has featured 15 different teams in the final four, and four different state champions.

Lacrosse, which is a bit more like football in its inherent resistance to the “Cinderella story” can boast of only seven different final-four teams and four different champs in 10 years.

Two of those teams, Kent Denver (five state titles and eight final fours) and Cherry Creek (three titles and ten final fours) have literally dominated the sport, with Arapahoe and Fort Collins having helped themselves to one title each.

Borgmann admitted that he expects to see a motion to split when the committee meets again in two years, and I’d be pretty shocked if there weren’t some major changes to the sport when that happens.

Almost as shocked as I was to discover recently that several different sets of prep rankings all currently have Arapahoe and Cherry Creek as the top two teams in the state.

http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20100429/WINDSORBEACON1306/4290309

Western College Men’s Lacrosse: Westminster Men’s Lacrosse (10-6) Enters Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Playoffs Tied For First With Utah Valley


The Westminster men’s lacrosse team competes in the 2010 Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Playoffs this weekend in Provo. Westminster earned a first round bye in the tournament thanks to winning the tie-breaker with Utah Valley. The Griffins will play on Friday, April 30 at 1 p.m. against the winner of the Montana State versus Fort Lewis game.

Westminster heads to the tournament at 10-6 on the season and co-champions of the RMLC West Division. They went 2-1 in division games to tie Utah Valley for the title. Westminster won the top seed in the tournament thanks to a 9-8 overtime victory over UVU on March 13. The Griffins sit No. 7 in the Prodigy Network/Collegelax.us coaches’ poll that was released on Wednesday. They are sixth in the Adidas Top 23 poll and seventh in the Laxpower.com computer poll.

Westminster averages 11.6 goals per game and score on 34.1% of their shot attempts. They collect 11 ground balls per contest and win 50.4% of total faceoffs. Westminster has scored on 11-of-68 man-up opportunities and holds the opposition to just 10-of-90 in the same situation.

Josh Condas leads the team with 30 goals and 45 points. Condas has scored on 45.5% of his 66 shots this season and has two game-winning goals. Jacob Wayman is second don the team with 34 points and has a team-best 20 assists. Kellen Lynn and Andrew Gordon have added 23 and 21 goals respectively. Marshall Serzen has collected a team leading 52 ground balls.

Dallas McLellan has posted a goal against average of 9.56 while making 160 saves. McLellan is 8-4 on the season and stopped 61.5% of total shots on goal. Jake Boudreau has made 39 saves in limited action off the bench.

Looking Ahead
Should Westminster win on Friday, they would advance to the RMLC championship game on Saturday, May 1 at 1:30 p.m. The winner of that game receives an automatic invite to the MCLA National Championship in Denver, Colorado. That 16-team tournament will run May 11-15 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

http://westminstergriffins.com/news/2010/4/28/MLAX_0428102103.aspx?path=mlax

NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Highlights: Johns Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse Kyle Wharton Shoots And Rips The Net Against Towson (Video)


#42 Kyle Wharton rips some serious rope against 10th ranked Towson. All filming credit goes to ESPNU   SEE THE FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdvXRX…

Western College Men’s Lacrosse: Denver Men’s Lacrosse (11-4) Is 9-1 Since Early Season Loss To Penn And Plays Loyola With ECAC Championship And NCAA Tournament Bid On The Line


The most surprising aspect of Denver’s 9-8 win over Fairfield at Saturday’s ESPNU Warrior Classic opener wasn’t the result of the game. It was the number of Pioneers fans in the stands at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

Denver joined the ranks of Division I lacrosse in 1999 and has seen its profile rise slowly within the sport in the past decade. Under former coach Jamie Munro, the Pioneers put together seven winning seasons, including an NCAA tournament appearance in 2008. (Denver lost in the first round to Maryland, 10-7.)

But the move that garnered the Pioneers the most headlines took place off the field this past June, when Denver announced the hiring of Bill Tierney to replace Munro. Tierney, one of the game’s most accomplished coaches, built Princeton from doormat to powerhouse, winning six national championships and 14 Ivy League titles.

The move gave Denver — and lacrosse west of the Mississippi — instant credibility. 

“I love Princeton lacrosse, Princeton University; those were 22 years that I’ll always remember with great fondness,” Tierney said after Saturday’s win. “This change has just been good for me, and I hope Denver feels it’s been good for them.” 

The feeling is mutual. 

Denver's coaching staff has worked hard to prepare Denver for Sunday's ECAC showdown. Tim Head/Mile-High Photography

“He’s great, we love having him here,” sophomore attackman Alex Demopoulos said. “He’s changed the culture — the way we practice, prepare, everything.” 

The transition wasn’t entirely smooth. Tierney and his staff, which includes his son Trevor, had to cobble together a roster and pull in a few late recruits and transfer students. He even persuaded a few players who had quit in previous seasons to return to the team. 

The initial results were mixed. Denver lost its opener to defending national champ Syracuse, then fell to Division I newcomer Jacksonville 13-12 in triple overtime. The Pioneers regrouped to win their home opener against Albany before dropping another game to Penn. 

Tierney attributed the early-season struggles to the time needed for the team and coaches to adjust to each other. But the growing pains are paying off, as the Pioneers are 9-1 since the loss to the Quakers — their lone loss coming at the hands of then-No. 9 Notre Dame — and are undefeated in ECAC play. 

Date Opponent Result
2/19 at Syracuse   L,  15-9
2/21 at Jacksonville   L,  13-12 (3OT)
2/27 ALBANY   W, 17-13
3/06 PENN   L,  11-7
3/07 LEHIGH   W, 8-7
3/13 CANISIUS   W, 10-5
3/16 at Notre Dame   L,  14-7
3/20 at Stony Brook   W, 13-12
3/27 AIR FORCE   W, 9-6
4/03 HOBART   W, 17-13
4/09 BELLARMINE   W, 12-8
4/11 QUINNIPIAC   W, 14-10
4/17 at Ohio State   W, 10-9
4/24 vs. Fairfield   W, 9-8
5/02 LOYOLA 1:00 pm
5/08 at Air Force 1:00 pm
Coach: Bill Tierney

“From the start of the season, we’ve been playing with pressure — playing for a new coach, playing for your spot,” sophomore attackman Mark Matthews explained. “That experience is helping us now.” 

Denver is led by senior captain Dillon Roy (No. 20 in the nation in ground balls per game), Demopoulos (29 goals, 17 assists), and Matthews (28 goals, 7 assists). 

The Pioneers’ growth will be on display Sunday at Invesco Field in Denver when they host No. 6 Loyola. The inaugural ECAC championship is on the line, as is the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. And if that weren’t enough, the game also will determine the host school for the inaugural ECAC tournament in 2011. 

“It’s going to be a difficult task. Loyola is clearly the best team in the league,” Tierney said. “They bring it from the midfield, they bring it from the attack, they’ve got a great defense, they’ve got a fabulous goalie. They’re just so well coached, and they know exactly what they’re doing every minute of every game. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re going to go out there and compete and try to play like we’ve been playing the last seven games and hope that we can find another way to win.” 

The Pioneers, ranked No. 16 in the latest Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, are clearly the underdog. But in a season that has seen Johns Hopkins drop out of the USILA Top 20 for the first time in the history of the poll — a streak of 367 weeks — it’s clear anything can happen.

“A Denver win would give them a ticket to the NCAA tournament and thrust the program into the national spotlight for the earlier part of May,” said ESPNU lacrosse analyst Quint Kessenich. “Many high school lacrosse players have no recollection of Bill Tierney’s success at Princeton — to them it’s ancient history — so a win over Loyola would send a flare to the entire lacrosse nation [and say] ‘Denver lacrosse is here, we’re good now and going to be great in a few years.'” 

Sunday’s game will provide a big stage for the Pioneers and Western lacrosse, but Tierney hopes it’s just the beginning. He came to Denver to win championships. 

Denver’s — and Tierney’s — success might be key for the sport’s growth. Although Midwestern programs Notre Dame and Ohio State have made noise in the NCAA tournament (Notre Dame has played in a semifinal, and Ohio State made the quarterfinals), the sport’s reach has yet to make inroads farther west. 

But winning games is only part of the battle. Increasing the number of teams — there are 60 Division I men’s programs — might be the much harder part. 

“The sport could benefit from added attention and visibility that a successful Denver program may garner. But with the current Title IX climate, it’ll be difficult to grow the game at Division I institutions who currently sanction a BCS football team,” Kessenich explained. “To add a men’s team, the [school] will also have to add a women’s team. The estimated cost, according to a Big Ten athletics director, is $1.5 million for each, 3 million total per year.” 

Whether Tierney and the Pioneers can break new ground remains to be seen. For now, Denver can celebrate its growth this season and look forward to the opportunity on Sunday.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=5143697