The UCSB men’s lacrosse team’s successful season was ended on May 15 in the second round of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association National Championship tournament with a 6-3 loss to eventual champion Colorado State University.
This marks the Gauchos’ second loss to Colorado State this season, with the first coming on March 29 when UCSB suffered an 11-3 loss. This time around, UCSB was able to contain Colorado’s high-powered offense but was unable to muster up enough offense to win the defensive struggle.
“The CSU game was a great defensive battle,” Head Coach Mike Allan said. “At halftime, we were tied 2-2, and [I] felt that our game plan was working well. CSU was able to capitalize on a few mistakes on our part, and we couldn’t close the gap. They are a very good defensive team, so we needed to take advantage of our chances.”
The Rams’ Alex Devlin scored the first goal of the game with 12:14 remaining in the first period, but the Gauchos answered right back with a stellar goal from sophomore attack Johnny Morgan. With 7:41 remaining in the first, UCSB went up 2-1 with a man-up goal.
In the second period, Colorado State evened the match at two apiece with a goal from Dustin Grybinas.
In the third period, the Rams scored two unanswered goals to put them up 4-2, until Morgan scored with 5:15 remaining in the third period to bring the Gauchos to within one. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, that would be as close as UCSB would get to Colorado State. In the fourth period, the Rams’ Austin Fisher netted his second and third goals of the game to beat the Gauchos 6-3. UCSB managed to get 15 shots on goal in the second half, but could only convert one of those shots into a goal.
As for the season, the Gauchos finished with an overall record of 13-4 and 3-1 in Southwestern Lacrosse Conference play. Six Gauchos were honored on the 2012 SLC all-league teams. Senior attackman and team goal leader (30) Jamie Bridgman, senior midfielder and team captain Taylor Gilbert, junior midfielder CJ Jacobs and junior defenseman Kenny Smith were all named to the First Team All-SLC.
Senior faceoff specialist Oisin Lewis and senior midfielder and hero of the Cal Poly game Aaron Hemeon were named to the second team.
“The seniors did a great job leading the team this year,” Allan said. “They were some of our better players in terms of points, but also set the tone for how we practiced and approached every day. We will certainly miss those guys, but they made a strong impression on the younger players on the team.”
Looking ahead to next season, the Gauchos will return some experienced and talented players like junior Kevin Bowles, junior CJ Jacobs and junior Andy Lihani. Bowles led the team this year in assists with 18 and Jacobs was second on the team in goals with 21. Lihani was fourth on the team in goals with 19, including a seven-goal game against Chico State on Feb. 18.
UCSB will also return Head Coach Mike Allan, who was named SLC Coach of the Year in his first season back as the head coach of the Gauchos.
“It’s nice to be honored,” Allan said. “I think the award is more of a testament that the team bought into what we were teaching this season. The guys did a fantastic job acclimating to a new coach and a new system.”