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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Laxcats set-up for 2018 season

Arizona+midfielder+Matt+Lai+%2816%29+leads+the+offense+against+Utah+in+Tucson+on+Feb.+14.
Chris Hook/Flickr
Arizona midfielder Matt Lai (16) leads the offense against Utah in Tucson on Feb. 14.

For the 58th year, Arizona men’s lacrosse will take to the field for another season, looking for a turnaround year after a rough 2017 campaign.

Standouts for Laxcats

In the 2017 season, Colton Lloyd and Jerome Rigor were tied for the team lead in points with 26. Rigor graduated, but Lloyd will be returning for his junior season. 

As for goaltending, the only returning goalie is sophomore Justin Pierce, who served as a back-up and third-string the previous season. In that season, he surrendered only three goals in nine games, but had zero saves, putting his save percentage at a low 0 percent. 

Two standouts from practice were senior Alec Moen, and junior Barry Baker.  

Moen, who plays midfield, was a sharp shooter in an afternoon practice. He cut through his fellow Wildcats during a drill and shot one straight to the back of the net, eliciting cheers from his teammates. It was a shot that spoke volumes in what he could have in store, but also proved why he was fourth in points on the team last season with 19 (15 goals, four assists). 

Baker, on the other hand, plays defense and stood out because of his size. At 6-foot-4, he made his D-pole (a 6-foot lacrosse stick, exclusively used by defencemen) look more like a small tree branch. At 180 pounds, he was also fast on his feet, making for a deadly combo in lacrosse. He didn’t register any points last season, but the amount of goals he’ll be able to prevent will make up for that if he repeats his stats. 

Staff 

Matt Blamey is entering his first year as head coach of the program after the departure of Spencer Fuqua, who only coached for the 2017 season. Blamey has coached with two other teams in the MCLA — Sierra Nevada University and Dominican University — and claimed two National Championships with SNU during his time there. 

While Blamey is new to the program, 2018 marks the fourth year for both Dustyn Lyons and Will Lawlor. 

Lyons will continue serving as assistant coach after working as a defensive coordinator in Oregon and winning an NCAA title in 2014 with Limestone College.  

The final member of the staff is offensive coordinator Lawlor. Hailing from Philadelphia, he has a storied career in lacrosse. He was a standout on attack in high school, and then moved on to impress in NCAA Division III. He played in the Philadelphia Box League following his collegiate career but has spent time coaching on the high school level, and recruiting on the collegiate level. 

Schedule 

Last year the Laxcats went 5-8, which was a step back after posting winning records every year since 2011. Naturally, the team looks to change that. 

This year, the Wildcats play 11 total games, seven of which will be at home. Based on last year’s records of its opponents, Arizona will be facing a mix of opponents in terms of difficulty. 

Some key opponents are Sonoma State, Grand Canyon and Arizona State. 

Arizona did not face Sonoma State last year. Last season the Seawolves went 10-5, and played in one tournament game but lost. Two of its top leading scorers for 2017, Angelo Lagomarsino and Brett Tovrea, are returning to the 2018 squad. Sonoma also has junior goalie Tim Belisle returning. He posted a 0.600 goals against average and a 0.357 save percentage in 2017 through 15 games. 

The toughest opponent of the year will be in-state neighbor Grand Canyon University. Last year, the ‘Lopes lost only one game, going 10-1 on the season. Based on that record, they also claimed the title of National Champions in the summer. With that, they were also named No. 1 in a preseason coaches’ poll going into this year. 

Cam Wengreniuk, a returning player who was second in scoring last season for the ‘Lopes, nearly tripled Arizona’s Colton Lloyd’s team leading point totals. Wengreniuk had 60 goals and 13 assists in 17 games. 

Finally, there’s rival Arizona State, which had a record of 8-5 last year, as well as four tournament games. When Arizona faced off against them last season, it lost 14-6. 

Leading scorer Tommy Carasso will be returning for his senior year for ASU after recording 48 points (30 goals, 18 assists) in 16 games.


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