The UCSB men’s lacrosse team will be hosting Cal Poly on Wednesday, Feb. 29 for the first Face Off vs. Leukemia charity event. The Gauchos are raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Santa Barbara in honor of former player Stephan Meloy, who passed away from his second battle with leukemia on Aug. 11, 2011.
“Face Off vs Leukemia is very important to our team because it gives us a chance to honor Stephan and raise money to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” Head Coach Mike Allan said. “One of the goals of our lacrosse program is to create a family atmosphere among players, parents and alumni. Hopefully, this fundraiser will show how strong those family bonds are and work together to honor Stephan.”
Stephan was a goalie on the 2005 and 2006 UCSB lacrosse teams, and was known by his teammates and friends as “Cheese”. The team is selling T-shirts for $12 at the game and online at www.ucsblax.com with all proceeds going directly to the LLS of Santa Barbara.
“Our goal is to sell 500 T-shirts by the end of the game on Wednesday, Feb. 29 against Cal Poly,” Allan said.
A celebration of Stephan’s life will take place on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at 10550 Fontenelle Way, Los Angeles, CA. Donations can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society under Stephan’s name.
The game will be the Gauchos’ fifth match of the season and are currently 4-0 after beating Claremont 14-3 on Feb. 25. The Claremont match was the team’s first league game and was selected as the Southwest Lacrosse Conference game of the week. UCSB led 8-0 at half time and would eventually hold Claremont scoreless for the first 52 minutes of the match. Junior attack Andy Lihani and senior attack Jamie Bridgman each had three goals to lead the Gauchos. Lihani also leads the team in goals with 10 this season.
Cal Poly, which is coming off three straight Western Collegiate Lacrosse League championships, is also 4-0 with big wins over Cal St. Fullerton, Oregon, BYU and Cal.
“Cal Poly is one of the top ranked teams in the nation, so not only will fans be supporting a great cause, but they will get to see some great lacrosse as well,” Allan said.
Coach Allan has returned for his second stint as UCSB’s head lacrosse coach. He previously coached the Gauchos from 2004 to 2008 and then spent three years as an assistant coach at Towson University. During his first coaching tenure, the Gauchos had an overall record of 85-22, won two MCLA National Championships and three West Coast Lacrosse League championships.
“The last time our coach was here he won back to back national championships and we are hoping to continue his winning tradition,” Senior Captain Taylor Gilbert said.
Game time is 7 p.m. under the lights at Harder Stadium.