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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Laxcats lay the lumber

Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona men’s lacrosse team opened its season on Saturday at the Laxcat Coliseum against NAU, but it was the Laxcats who supplied the lumber.

Several of the 16 freshmen on the Laxcats’ roster came up big in Arizona’s 17-6 victory. Eight of the goals were scored by freshmen, including six between midfielder Jordan Goldstein and attackman Graham Seamans.

“”We’ve seen them doing this every day in practice, so it’s not too surprising,”” said senior captain Alex Beauchamp of the freshmen. “”We’ve been expecting it out of them.””

The home opener was also a family reunion of sorts for head coach Mickey-Miles Felton, who was seen giving bear hugs to the home crowd before the start of the game. Saturday was his first game as head coach of the men’s lacrosse team since 2001. Adorned in black, with the exception of his red boots, Felton was the only Laxcat to feel the heat against NAU.

“”I think we had a pretty good performance,”” Felton said. “”I think we showed where we need improvement and the areas we’re strong in. We got a chance to play everybody today so that was positive.

“”It was important to get everybody playing, especially at home,”” Felton added. “”We’ve been waiting and waiting for a game. It’s time to rock ‘n’ roll.””

Arizona opened the game with a penalty on the face-off, giving NAU the first possession of the game. It was about the only highlight for NAU in the first half.

Junior midfielder Tanner Chitwood scored first for the Laxcats less than a minute and a half into the game. It was one of three goals for Chitwood of the day. Beauchamp, who had one goal of his own, set Chitwood up for two of his goals.

“”It was his first hat-trick, which was big for him,”” Beauchamp said. “”It’s always good to get the teammates involved. I like scoring goals, but every time I can get the assist it’s that much better.””

Arizona was quick to add to its lead, as Goldstein scored another goal not even a minute after Chitwood’s.

The Laxcats showed their offensive firepower in the first quarter, with six different players posting goals, three of whom were freshmen. The team finished the first quarter with a 6-0 lead. Overall, nine different players scored on the day, and five of them had two goals or more. 

However, Arizona lit up more than the scoreboard on Saturday as it supplied the hits on defense too. Seamans put a vicious side hit on NAU senior attackman Drew Robertson with just more than a minute to go in the first quarter that made everyone in the stands shout. Robertson walked off the field with assistance and did not return.

In the second quarter, Arizona added to its lead when freshman attackman Alex Potter scored on an assist by defenseman Justin Ghio, who sliced through the NAU defense to get the assist with just more than 12 minutes to go in the second.

Goldstein supplied the final goal of the half with less than five minutes, and Arizona went into half time with a 9-1 lead.

“”We came out strong in the first half,”” Beauchamp said. “”We got a lot of good effort from a lot of key players.””

At the start of the second half, Arizona came out sluggish and allowed NAU senior attackman Troy Elliot to score the first goal of the half. He would add three more goals by the game’s end. Arizona, however, overcame its sloppy play in the third and got a much-needed lift from junior attackman Frankie Connell, who scored two goals in the quarter. Arizona led 11-3, heading into the fourth.  

“”We had a good intensity in the first half, and after half time we were a little sluggish in the third quarter,”” Felton said. “”That cost us.””

After two more goals by NAU’s Elliot, Arizona’s lead was brought down to six at 11-5. With just more than nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Arizona put the game out of reach with goals by Chitwood and Seamans. Both players scored within 10 seconds of one another. Arizona would score four more goals before the game ended, including two more by Seamans, who led all scorers with four goals.

“”Seamans got the game ball,”” Felton said. “”The odd thing about Graham (Seamans) and I is that I coached against him last year (in high school), and I had to figure out (a) defensive strategy to keep him from scoring too many goals. He lit it up today.””

“”It was fun,”” said Seamans. “”Being a freshman and having my first home game was exciting. In high school, I didn’t really have that many fans (attend games) so the crowd was awesome.””

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