The UCSB men’s lacrosse club team enjoyed a run to the Final Four at the United States Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates National Championships at St. Louis before that catapulted the squad to third nationally.
The Gauchos outlasted Brigham Young University 7-6 in double overtime in the consolation game for third on May 11. The victory was especially vindicating, considering the Cougars slammed UCSB 14-7 in last year’s consolation game.
“We really gave up in that consolation game last year,” junior midfielder Scott Holmes said. “I remember walking off the field [dejected] … this year, we went out there and laid everything on the field.”
Santa Barbara finished its season 16-4 overall and 13-5 while participating in the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League. Six of 16 squads represented the WCLL at St. Louis. The Gauchos upended the Cougars earlier in the season 10-7 in Santa Barbara on Feb. 14.
In the first round of the Championships, seventh-seeded UCSB nicked 10th-seeded University at Buffalo 10-5 on May 8.
The semifinal matchup pitted Santa Barbara against an Auburn University squad that was undefeated yet untested heading into the game, according to Holmes. The Gauchos disposed of the second-seeded Tigers 13-5 the following day after exploding for six goals in the opening quarter, quickly leaving Auburn in the dust.
“We ended up beating them after leading 10-1 after two quarters,” Holmes said. “We handled them pretty well.”
The Final Four match against defending champion Colorado State proved to be a daunting task. The Rams advanced to their fourth-straight National Championship game after the Gauchos succumbed 12-9 on May 10. The Gauchos nearly overcame a five-goal deficit and a four-goal CSU lead in the fourth quarter to come within one.
Though UCSB fell short of its ultimate goal of a national title, junior attack Jim Clark’s goal four minutes in the second sudden-death overtime provided the lift the Gauchos needed to halt BYU in Saturday’s consolation game.
“Walking off the field, I saw the seniors smile and I think that was probably the best moment,” Holmes said.