by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
CALDWELL, Idaho -- At first glance, the 6-4 record posted by the College of Idaho last spring doesn't immediately paint a picture of a program ready for nationals. A deeper dive into the numbers illustrates just how close the Yotes were to being a contender.
All four of COI's losses came by a lone goal, with three of those setbacks occuring in overtime, including the 10-9 extra time loss to Western Washington in the PNCLL quarters.
When you're that close to the prize, there's only way one to take the next step.
Team bowling night! pic.twitter.com/POo9yJ1oUx
— Yotes Lacrosse (@yoteslacrosse) October 11, 2016
An evening of kegling at the Caldwell Bowl will certainly help, but the return of junior attackman Nich Guzzetti -- the most prolific scorer in MCLA Division II (7.75 points per game) in 2016 -- also boosts the cause.
If the Yotes can seal the deal in close games and take care of business in the others, a trip to SoCal is well within grasp.
Team: College of Idaho
2016 Record: 6-4
Conference record/finish: 2-2 / PNCLL Quarterfinalist
Head Coach: Matt Gier (9th year)
Ian Williams -- The loss of this attackman will be a big loss for the Yotes. He was second on the team in goals per game with an average over 4.00. He finished the season with 38 goals and six assists. Williams was also a vocal leader that kept moral up and his presence will be missed.
Reed Snow -- Reed, a defender, was our the senior captain and losing a senior captain is always hard. He was one of the vocal leaders on and off the field. His ability to the clear the ball and command the defense will be great missed.
Cody Zeff -- Zeff was one of those defensive midfielders who played phenomenal defense and helped anchor the man-down defense. He led all midfielders with 36 ground balls and tallied seven points during the season.
Nich Guzzetti -- Guzzetti led all of MCLA D-II in PPG with 7.75. He was the 2016 PNCLL Offensive Player of the Year and back-to-back first team all-PNCLL on attack. Guzzetti is an incredible athlete and his lacrosse IQ makes everyone around him better. The Yotes are expecting a big season from him.
Dillon Green -- Green averaged over 5.00 PPG and has spent countless hours off the field in preparation for this season. He has the drive to be better than everyone around him and he's expected to have the best season of his collegiate career.
V.J. Dahm -- Dahm has been a rock for COI between the pipes. He never ceases to amaze the staff with his ability to get better every season. Nobody wants to win more than Dahm, and his drive to get us to the conference playoffs inspires everyone on the team
Best moment of the 2016 season
Our comeback win against Central Washington. We were down one with just over minute to play and Green made an incredible play by splitting the double team to tie the game. He did it again after the faceoff, giving us the lead. The energy at the game was amazing, and the team and crowd were ecstatic.
Biggest challenge facing College of Idaho in 2017
Not losing by one goal. Our record from last year could have been 10-0 had we not lost by one in all four of those losses. Three of the four games were decided in overtime. This has also been a huge motivator for the team. Losing in overtime three times has been tough for many of the guys to get over, but it has fueled their fire for the 2017 season.
Why the Yotes will be better in 2017
Last year’s losses have already made our 2017 team better. It has pushed every player to get more reps in the weight room, on the wall and on the field. This team has the drive to win unlike any other Yotes squad I’ve coached over the years. Our freshman recruiting class and transfers will also help our depth. We also have tremendous support from the college and athletic department, which keeps the spirits high.
I’ve never been more excited for a season, to be honest. We had a great season last year, but I truly feel that we should have gone undefeated and that is a driving motivator every day in the gym and on the field. Every player that we brought in will be an impact player. We have a great 2017 schedule with seven home games and some tough road games. The preseason PNCLL coaches poll is also the highest we’ve ever been voted -- preseason No. 2 -- and we are happy with that ranking. Our goal, however, is to be No. 1. Our goal for the 2017 season is to win the PNCLL D-II championship and make a run at nationals. If we stay focused and keep our composure in close games, we will be one of the top teams in the MCLA.