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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona lacrosse team captures postseason birth

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.

Arizona’s lacrosse team earned a playoff berth to the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Tournament and will face the Boston College Eagles on May 9 in the first round.

While the Laxcats already defeated the Eagles 16-5 earlier this season, they know not to take them lightly.

“Our confidence level is high and we are more of the aggressor, but we cannot be too cocky and we know they have made some adjustments,” said sophomore midfielder Ryan Falbo.

Head coach Derek Pedrick and his players believe if they are to make a deep postseason run, their offense is going to have to improve in the playoffs.

“We have done a really good job of competing and had some big wins and our body of work ultimately got us into the playoffs,” Pedrick said.

Arizona finished 7-4 and defense was a big factor in the team’s success, but the players also know what they have to do individually to help the team.

Falbo emphasized putting more shots on cage, dodging harder and finding the open man as ways he can help beat Boston College. Senior Brett Burkholder emphasized getting open, scrapping for ground balls, winning the ground ball war and scoring as ways he can impact the game.

“Our defense has been carrying us starting with our returning All-American Tanner Knego and we also have three first-team defensemen, but we need our offense to step up,” Pedrick said.

Knego, a four-year player, is a reigning first team All-Conference and All-American goalie who has actually improved his numbers from last year. He has decreased his goals allowed from 77 to 69 and increased his save percentage from 68.25 to 70 percent.

Seniors Nolan Baker and Foster Bundy also earned accolades last season with second team All-Conference nods for their superior play.

“Our seniors are our impact players and we’ve got a great class of guys and we are not going to give this [opportunity] up,” Burkholder said.

While Arizona is the 11 seed in the tourney, the Wildcats are confident in their ability to make a deep run in the postseason.

“Talent-wise, we have as much talent as the top teams in the country and if we continue to work together and have a great week of practice like we had all year, I see no one stopping us,” Pedrick said of the team’s chances.

The Wildcats face Boston College on the University of California, Irvine’s campus, where the first two rounds are held. The championship round is held at Chapman University, and every game can be live-streamed on SLC’s YouTube channel.

For more information about the lacrosse team, check out www.arizonalaxcats.com.


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