BYU Wins the 2011 National Championship
Commerce City, CO- The Brigham Young University Lacrosse team won the 2011 Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association National Championship Saturday night, defeating the Arizona State University Sun Devils 10-8 at Dicks Sporting Goods Complex in Commerce City, CO. The win gives BYU its fourth National Championship, tying them for most in league history.
After defeating league rival Colorado State on Friday night, the Cougars were coming into the Championship game playing their best lacrosse of the season.
The Cougars came out looking to avoid another slow start, which plagued them in the CSU game one night before. Junior Captain Ted Ferrin kicked off the scoring after beating his defender and diving in front of the crease while putting the ball past the Arizona State goalkeeper Sophomore Dylan Westfall.
Arizona State would respond with three goals of their own, taking a two goal lead into the first quarter break. Meticulous possession was the mark of the Sun Devils in the first quarter, controlling the ball and dominating the shots on goal statistic. The Cougars went into the quarter break looking for some answers on both the offensive and defensive end of the ball.
The Cougars found some answers when Junior Defender Jacob Houghton intercepted a Sun Devil pass during a clear attempt and found his brother Junior Jared Houghton at midfield who dumped the ball off to Ferrin who buried his shot to pull the Cougars within one.
Behind consistent face-off wins from Tournament MVP, Senior Dan Cole, the Cougars were able to start to control the possession time, and with the possession time came goals. Sophomore Jake Ferrin dodged from the top and dumped the ball off to Junior Corey Gunderson who snuck a shot past Westfall to tie the game at three a piece.
The Cougars continued to put goals on the board as Sophomore Pat Matheson powered his way past the ASU defense and blasted a shot home to give the Cougars their first lead of the day. Junior Drew Shumway would find the back of the net on the next possession, sneaking the ball in through a series of screens to push the Cougar lead to two.
The Sun Devils would fight back as Senior midfielder Ryan Westfall ripped a shot off the next face-off and beat the BYU goalkeeper Wes Goar to pull the Sun Devils back to within one.
The Cougars would survive several ASU chances in the last four minutes of the half. Goar, who took over the starting goalie position when Freshman goalkeeper Matt Brandenburg broke his thumb the night before against CSU, made several key saves to keep the Sun Devils at bay going into halftime. Following two BYU penalties Goar made two saves while two men down, and helped lead an efficient clearing game.
With one minute left in the half the Cougars had possession and were looking to add to their lead before the break. Cole would again answer the call for the Cougars as he bounced a shot past Westfall to push the Cougar lead back to two just seconds before halftime.
Coming out of halftime the Cougars looked to build on their lead, but a series of sloppy possessions lead to multiple chances for the Sun Devils to close the gap. The defense, lead by several big saves from Goar, was up to the task, holding the Sun Devils scoreless until Gunderson again found the back of the net with a quick shot from the crease.
Both goalies went punch for punch with one incredible save after another to keep both teams off the scoreboard for the majority of the third quarter. After a turnover by BYU, the Sun Devils broke the scoring drought, as they found the back of the net in a transition opportunity.
Up by two headed into the last minute, the Cougars again looked to get a tally in the last minute. This time Matheson was up to the task as he rolled in front of the crease and trickled a one-handed shot past Westfall to balloon the lead back to three.
Arizona State wouldn’t go down without a fight, and their top players, Westfall and Senior Attackman Eric Nelson would both get tallies to pull the Sun Devils to within one with 5 minutes left in the game, setting the stage for a thrilling ending.
Ferrin again answered the call for the Cougars and he beat Westfall on a dodge from the right side, giving the Cougars minimal breathing room with a two goal lead. The Sun Devils would get off several shots, all of which Goar saved, before Junior Andrew Harding found the back of the net with 30 ticks left on the clock, sealing the win and the National Championship for the Cougars.
With the win the Cougar tie Colorado State for most MCLA National Championships with 4. The title is also the first as Head Coach for Matt Schneck. The win also gave the Cougars their 20th win of the season.
Head Coach Matt Schneck
-On Winning the National Championship In Second Year as Head Coach
I am thrilled for the entire program to have accomplished such an incredible feat in our second year. This victory should be attributed to the dedication of the entire coaching staff, team, and supporters of BYU Lacrosse.
-On the Importance of the Last Minute Scoring
As the national championship tournament progressed we identified incredible momentum swings due to the game management of the last minute of each period, this became a focus and one that had a significant impact in winning the 2011 National Championship.
-On Freshman Goalkeeper Wes Goar Stepping into Starting Role
We had 100% confidence in Wes taking on the starting role in goal heading into this National Championship Game. He was prepared and ready to take on the challenge. He played an outstanding game.
-On the Team This Year
The 2011 BYU Lacrosse Team is a special group of young men that demonstrated that they are true champions both on and off the field.
Senior Midfielder Tyler Monteath
-On Winning Back to Back Titles in his Junior and Senior Seasons
This never really crossed my mind until Coach Harris told me I had won back to back National Championships because I left on my mission to Scotland after the 2007 season. This has been a great feeling to have two National Championships under my belt. I feel so privileged to be a part of these championship teams. It has been an incredible experience to be surrounded by such great people on both the ’07 team and the team this year. I will always remember these two championships and they will be highlights for me for the rest of my life.
-On Winning The Championship in his Last Game
I couldn’t imagine finishing out a long lacrosse career in any other way than winning a National Championship. I have put in countless hours of hard work and dedication to get me to the point I am right now. Although I have worked very hard to get to where I am now, I would feel very ungrateful if I didn’t give credit to all of my teammates and coaches over the years that helped push me to succeed. The only reason I was able to achieve this goal of winning a National Championship was because of the team I was surrounded with. There are so many great players on this team that have contributed to the success that we have seen. Also, our success stemmed largely from the coaches who have put in so much of their time and effort to help prepare and get us to this point.
Assistant Coach Jordan Harris
-On the Defense Growth During the Year
Coming into the year we knew the biggest question mark on this team would be the defense. We essentially returned two defensive midfielders from last year’s team. Jacob Houghton switched from midfielder in the fall and really helped lead this defense as they became one of the best in the Nation. Tyler Sabey brought much needed experience returning from his mission, and Grayson Dahl proved why we call him the best player in the Nation. At the end of the day it came down to a bunch of selfless individuals who worked incredibly hard to go from the question mark of this team to the anchor.
-On Having Two “Starting” Goalies
We have said all year no position is set in stone. Matt Brandenburg improved his game a ton this year and earned the chance to lead the defense and did a great job until his injury. With Wes we knew we had a big time keeper, but we wanted to see more consistency out of him. All the credit in the world to Wes, he could have given up and stopped working when he lost his starting job three-fourths of the way through the season, but he did the opposite. He went back to work and became a better goalie, and it showed on the biggest stage. Wes stood on his head today, and that was the difference in a two goal game. We are excited to get three more years with Wes, and three more with Matt when he returns from his mission.
Senior Dan Cole
-On Being Awarded Tournament MVP
Really this award means that I had an absolutely astounding team pushing me to be better each and every day. I would not be where I am without them and the real success goes to my teammates for making me who I am. The year after I returned home from my mission, athletically I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Lacrosse was hard when I got back and the level of competition around the league had gone up dramatically. With the help of my coaches, teammates and family I fought back to the top and didn’t stop. This award represents an achievement of sacrificed and dedication on everyone’s behalf not just mine.
-On The Face-off Battle Against Arizona State
Lacrosse is a game that is made one possession at a time. Control at the face-off X was a huge key to winning the championship game. I got all the jitters out in our walkthrough the morning prior to the game. I worked on my reaction time to the whistle and honed all the tools in the bag so that during the game I could dominate. During the game I was in the ‘zone’. During the face-offs I could tell exactly what he was going to do and knew exactly what I needed to do to beat him. I only used one or two moves the entire game but I was quick on the draw and could beat him almost every time.
-On Winning The Championship in his Last Game
There is no better way to finish than to go out on top. When I left on my mission at the beginning of 2007 I felt that I had given up my chance at a National Championship as the BYU team won that year. So this is a dream come true for me. The feeling is still sinking in. This win means years of hard work and dedication on everyone’s part. From the coaches to each player, we all had to sacrifice this year and it was all worth it.