Laxcats positive going into National Tourney

Ari Wasserman

The No. 8 Arizona club lacrosse team reached the conference finals for the second time in four years, but something still lingers on the Laxcats’ minds after they were not able to hold up the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League championship trophy.

Now they move on to bigger goals with the start of the National Tournament May 10-14 in Dallas, Texas, where the Laxcats will be the No. 8 seed going up against No. 9-seeded Oregon.

If they win, they would face the winner of the game between No. 1-seeded Colorado State and No. 16-seeded Texas, who ranks No. 21 in the final poll.

“”Our goal is the big picture,”” sophomore attackman Eric Poole said. “”WCLL wasn’t the main concern. We still have a chance at the major goal, to be the national champions.””

Throughout the year, the Laxcats accomplished most of their goals, including beating archrival No. 10-seeded UC-Santa Barbara and moving up the rankings after starting the year ranked No. 15.

“”I feel we had a very successful season,”” senior attackman Steve Luna said. “”We accomplished most of our goals, and now we are focusing on the national championship trophy.””

Even though losing the big game leaves a bitter taste in the Laxcats’ mouths, Luna said he thinks that maybe losing the WCLL finals might fuel their drive in nationals.

“”You can’t appreciate a winner without getting a taste of losing,”” he said.

Although the Laxcats tripped up against No. 2-seeded Sonoma State in the conference finals Sunday, the team still has much to look forward too.

“”We had some pretty bad losses this year,”” Arizona head coach Kenny Broschart said. “”But we also had some pretty huge wins as well to counter them.””

Although the conference championship loss stings, players also recognize that the biggest goal of the year is still out for the taking.

Our future is bright. We have a lot of young kids stepping into pretty big roles next year. Even though a lot of us had limited playing time, we were learning from the upperclassmen, and we are looking forward to the future.

“”We still have goals,”” senior close defender and defensive captain Carson Parmelee said. “”We still haven’t accomplished our major goal, which is winning the championship.””

Arizona is looking to go to Dallas with a chip on its shoulder.

“”We are really trying to prove ourselves,”” freshman midfielder Curtis Fillmore said. “”We are getting the respect we deserve.””

As Arizona says goodbye to some of the team’s most valuable players, the seniors, the Laxcats still remain focused on the task at hand: winning the national championship trophy.

Broschart said he knows that along with a successful past, the Laxcats also have a promising future. He believes the young core of players who have played a good amount of time this year are the foundation to their future.

Broschart said he is expecting many of the Laxcats’ young performers this season to be a key part of the team next year, including Fillmore, Poole, sophomore attackman Jason Gustafson and freshman midfielder George Timbrell.

“”Our future is bright,”” Fillmore said. “”We have a lot of young kids stepping into pretty big roles next year. Even though a lot of us had limited playing time, we were learning from the upperclassmen, and we are looking forward to the future.””

Along with the established youngsters the Laxcats already possess, they will be adding more to that nucleus next season.

“”We got a really good recruiting class,”” Broschart said. “”We also have about 30 returning players, so we are in good shape.””

As the Laxcats’ season comes to a close this week, they are focused on winning the championship, as well as embracing their positive future.