The UCSB men’s lacrosse team beat division opponent USC 20-6 in the team’s first game of the season, placing UCSB at the top of the Division I Southwestern Lacrosse Conference.
With the victory, the Gauchos improve to 1-0 both overall and in the Southwestern Lacrosse conference while the Trojans drop to 0-1 overall and in league.
“We out worked the other team, which helped us get a quick lead,” senior long-stick midfielder and captain Alex Mainthow said. “We have a lot of younger guys that are stepping up and piecing our team together.”
Santa Barbara shot more goal attempts than the Trojans in every quarter, and rotated eight more players into play throughout the game. Sophomore midfielder Carl Tilbury led the team in goals scored, scoring four of the 20, and freshman attacker Casey Mix led the team with six assists.
“We knew we wanted to set a tone for the season, so we came out with a lot of energy and carried that over into our play,” senior goalkeeper captain Conrad Carlson said. “It was great that we were able to get everybody in the game.”
Though the team anticipated an exciting first game of the season, their work in practice paid off as they picked up 14 more ground balls, and had seven more players score than Trojan players.
“We’ve worked on competing within our team and playing fast,” Mainthow said. “We definitely came out more competitive than USC by playing aggressive and winning ground balls.”
Though currently in first place, the team still awaits 2013 division leader, Chapman, as well as Claremont and Loyola Marymount to play their first game. UCSB came in second behind Chapman last season, and was ranked one place behind the Panthers in this year’s pre-season coaches poll.
“We just need to shoot better, and not hit the goalie as much as we did. We need to move our feet when we throw to make shorter passes,” Carlson said.
This week in practice, the Gauchos will be working on applying pressure rides and scramble drills that “will force [them] to talk through broken plays,” according to Carlson, which will hopefully help them in their big game against Stanford next week.
Though UCSB walked away with its first victory, on the sideline was freshman Aaron Loy cheering them on. This was the majority of the team’s first time seeing Loy, since he was diagnosed with Meningitis last fall, which, according to Carlson, made the game “even that more special.”
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.