The UCSB men’s lacrosse team heads to South Carolina for the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association tournament after a tough 10-8 loss to Arizona State in the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference semifinal game. The Gauchos will play a 12-2 Pittsburgh team (4-1 CCLA) in their first round matchup on Monday.
Despite Pittsburgh scoring 35 more goals than UCSB, it has also given up 20 more goals. When it comes to shutting down that offense, the Gauchos (12-3 overall, 3-1 SLC) will have to defend the Panther’s junior attacker Tyler Novotny, who compiled 63 goals and 17 assists this year.
In comparison, UCSB’s leading scorer, senior attacker Jamie Bridgman, totaled 29 goals and 11 assists this season. What will help the Gauchos in matching Pittsburgh’s offense is their deep, balanced offensive attack. UCSB has eight players in double digits for goals, whereas Pittsburgh only has five.
The 16-team tournament is split into two brackets leading up to the championship game. In order to reach the championship, the Gauchos will eventually have to get through rivals like Chapman and Colorado State, both of whom UCSB lost to earlier in the season.
On the other side of the bracket, the Gauchos could end up facing Cal Poly or getting a chance at revenge against Arizona State.
“There are a lot of great teams in the tournament and no matter what your seed is you are going to have to beat some good teams to advance,” Head Coach Mike Allan said. “Our first round draw is interesting because we’ve never played them before.” Despite playing on unknown territory all the way in South Carolina, the Gauchos have some prior knowledge of the competition they could face in the tournament. “We try to schedule tough games throughout the year to prepare to play our best in the tournament,” Allan said. “We played six of the 16 teams that made it during the season, so there’s a good chance that we’ll face a team that we’ve seen before if we can advance.”
In the loss to Arizona, the Gauchos outshot the Sun Devils 46-32. Sophomore midfielder Logan Quinn anchored the Sun Devil offense with three goals and one assist. For UCSB, senior midfielder Taylor Gilbert led the attack with two goals and an assist.
UCSB will have to put the Arizona State loss behind them quickly because the tournament is single elimination.
“The loss to ASU was tough, but fortunately we had put ourselves in position to make the tournament anyway,” Allan said. “The team was disappointed, but quickly put it behind them and turned their focus to the National Tournament. I just told them that once you’re in the tournament, anything can happen. We earned a spot, now we have to finish the job.”
Monday’s match is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. PDT and all tournament matches can be viewed live at http://www. mcla.us.