The Cougars traveled to Flagstaff, AZ on Friday for a round robin-style weekend against Northern Arizona University and #21 Fort Lewis College. Following #13 Cal State Fullerton’s 14-7 win over #21 Fort Lewis, San Marcos took on the Lumberjacks in a rematch of last season’s first-round SLC playoff match-up which saw NAU come out victorious, 13-10.
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With remnant snowfall covering portions of the field, the Cougars played what was their most complete and balanced game of the season thus far, winning the rematch 12-8. Attackmen Cade Vlacos (Foothill) and Austin Jenkin (Fallbrook) again stole the show on the offensive side of the ball, scoring 8 of the team’s 12 goals. Vlacos attributes his success to the offensive unit working in concert, “The off-ball timing was there for us today. It has taken us a few games to get to this point, but we really gelled as a unit. Everyone was working at full-speed and taking advantage of the opportunities as they came.” San Marcos took a 6-3 lead into halftime and remained in the driver’s seat for the duration of the afternoon, building to as much as a 6-goal lead in the 4th quarter. “We were patient with the ball, we didn’t force looks and took advantage when they came. Our effort on the ride and time of possession wore down at their defense all afternoon and created a lot of chances in the second half.” Vlacos finished with a game-high 8 points on 5 goals and 3 assists.
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Not to be outdone, the Cougars’ defense really demonstrated their ability to play shut-down lacrosse in settled situations, holding the Lumberjacks 5 goals under their average of 13.5 goals per game. Consistently assigned to the opponent’s standout attackman, senior defenseman Jesus Rojas (Fallbrook) led his defense in shutting down a dangerous Lumberjacks’ offense. When asked what has made the defense successful, Rojas said, “We haven’t done anything special. We’re playing solid as a unit because individually everyone is doing what is expected of them to make us successful. Our communication is getting better, and we’ve been improving on our slides and recoveries all season.”