LOS ANGELES -- Home for just five days, the Oregon State men’s lacrosse team took to the skies Friday morning to return to California. The Beavers hold a 2-0 record in the Golden State after last weekend’s Bay Area games, but now the Beavers are in Los Angeles to participate in the 10th annual Pac-12 Shootout, hosted by UCLA.
After splitting a pair of games a year ago, the Beavers are looking to improve to 4-0 on the season with two matchups this weekend. With eight of the Pac-12 schools in attendance, OSU has drawn No. 10 Arizona and host school UCLA.
The game against the Wildcats presents the highest ranked test for the Beavers all season. Oregon State and Arizona have not played each other since 2015, when the Beavers won an 8-7 thriller at the Pac-12 Shootout. OSU has not faced off against UCLA since the 2012 season.
For OSU, the Pac-12 Shootout represents an opportunity to prove its mettle against one of the powerhouses of the MCLA. With a chaotic week in full swing around the MCLA, the Beavers know that another 2-0 weekend would almost certainly propel them into the top 10 of the coaches’ poll. Despite their recent success, OSU has not faced an opponent like Arizona in 2017.
“The Pac-12 Shootout is going to be big test for us,” said junior midfielder Kaelen Stow. “I completely trust that our team will step up to the challenge. We have some amazing talent this year, and I believe that the team can capitalize on the opportunities this weekend.”
It’s a sentiment shared by many of the Beavers, who see this team as one that could potentially rival the 2015 squad as perhaps the best team to ever hail from Corvallis. For the eight current players who were a part of that team, they remember that their win over Arizona is what really began drawing national attention to OSU.
“To beat a Top 10 team like this, on the road, I think that would really give us a big boost in the eyes of the committee,” said junior goalie Justin Roach.
The opportunity is certainly there for the taking for Oregon State, but it will need to be decided on the field Saturday morning.
Despite the focus on Arizona, the Beavers insist that they will not overlook UCLA. Although just 5-8 a season ago, the Bruins hail from the difficult SLC conference, and upset fellow PNCLL program Washington at last year’s shootout.
“It sounds cliché, but we just take one step at a time," said OSU coach Chad Stelling. "We have prepared as best we can for Arizona and UCLA, and now we need to go execute our game plans.”