“All-in-all, I would say it was a successful year,” said head coach Mickey-Miles Felton. “We got the program back on the right track. We got the attitude in the right place, and we’re all looking forward to next season.”
When Felton returned before the start of fall practices he was looking to create an attitude adjustment. The team was coming off back-to-back losing seasons, and Laxcat fever was in short supply from the players.
Felton quickly began the revival of the lacrosse program by hiring two new coaches; defensive coordinator Lewis Lipscomb and offensive coordinator Drew Maceranka. He also had the team select new captains to follow throughout the season.
One captain was graduating physiology senior Alex “Big Country” Beauchamp, who said the change in the team’s attitude was apparent.
“We went back to the family-oriented way of looking at the team,” Beauchamp said. “Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves a lot more with Mickey at the helm.”
The regular season kicked off with a 17-6 victory over NAU and ended with 17-7 loss to ASU, a near mirroring on the scoreboard, with the opposite result for the Laxcats.
|2/06||NORTHERN ARIZONA||W, 17-6|
|2/13||vs. Texas A&M||W, 12-7|
|2/14||at Texas||L, 8-7 (2OT)|
|2/15||vs. Southwestern (D-III)||W, 16-2|
|2/21||SAN DIEGO STATE||W, 9-5|
|3/06||at UNLV||W, 15-10|
|3/07||vs. Utah||W, 7-6 (2OT)|
|3/15||COLORADO STATE||L, 13-8|
|3/18||at San Diego||L, 9-7|
|3/20||at Loyola Marymount||L, 13-6|
|3/23||UC SANTA BARBARA||L, 9-4|
|4/10||UC SAN DIEGO||W, 22-5|
|4/17||ARIZONA STATE||L, 17-7|
|4/29||vs. UC Santa Barbara||L, 13-8|
|Coach: Mickey-Miles Felton|
However, this year’s Laxcats ended up at a far different place from the previous two years.
A season that began with the team saying it had no expectations saw their first top-25 Prodigy Poll ranking in two years. The hard work earned Arizona a No. 25 ranking at the end of the regular season and a trip to the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference playoffs. The Laxcats’ run, however, ended at a 13-8 loss to University of California, Santa Barbara, in the first round.
“Getting back into the top 25 is significant because we’re (back) in the elite,” Felton said. “To start the season (unranked) and (finish in the top 25 is) very gratifying.”
The year saw its upsets, a 7-6 double-overtime victory over (No. 19) Utah in the fifth week of the schedule. The year saw heart break in a 8-7 loss to No. 18 Texas in double-overtime in the second week, and the year saw its lulls with a four-game losing streak in March. The team finished the season 6-8 overall and 3-2 in division play.
Considering the team’s progress, measuring the season in terms of wins and losses would only be one way of viewing success, according to Felton.
“There are a lot of ways (to be) successful,” Felton said. “To me, being successful is (having) players (who are) happy in the program as well as (having) parents and alumni being proud that the program is going back to the tradition it once had.
“I think it’s a young team that will be much more successful in the future,” Felton added. “I’m already on the job for (next season).”