ORANGE, Calif. -- After giving up two quick goals to start the game, the Utah men’s lacrosse team stayed the course, gained the lead, and held off No. 1 Chapman to win 12-9.
Veteran attackman Luke Graney scored the first goal for the Utes at the 5:58 mark, which was setup by a hustle play by fellow attackman Josh Stout. After Chapman backed up a shot, the defender threw it across the field. Stout jumped the defender and was able to knock the stick out of the opponents hands. The stick fell on the ball causing a withholding violation. Midfielder Jake Stout picked up the ball, the whistle blew and he found Graney on the crease, where he turned and scored.
Utah tied the game two minutes later when Stout tallied his first goal of the season after beating his defender and scoring on a great step-down shot.
After five minutes of play in the second quarter, Stout notched his second goal, giving Utah its first lead of the game. A heads up play by Stout led to the Utes fourth goal when he dodged from X, caught his man off guard and buried it in the back of the net. The defending champs weren’t going to lose without a fight. A fast-break goal followed by a late goal in the quarter tied the game at four apiece heading into halftime.
Midfielder Cam Redmond gave the Utes the lead out of the break when he beat his defender into the offensive side of the field at the midline on a substitution. The slight advantage was just enough for Redmond to find space and shoot a bounce shot into the back of the net. Again,
Chapman fought back, equalizing at the 11:22 mark. On the ensuing faceoff, Stout hustled to the midline and caused a turnover. The Utes had a long possession which ended when Stout scored off a quick restart when he dodged from X and wrapped around the right side and found just enough room for the ball to cross the goal line.
Midfielder CJ Anderson added to the lead when he lost his defender and was wide open on wing. Attackman Aaron Fjeldsted saw the advantage, dished the ball to Anderson, who then stepped down and found the lower left corner for his first collegiate goal.
Chapman would again answer with a goal. Graney scored a man-up goal a minute later on an assist from Fjeldsted, giving the Utes a two goal advantage with 4:37 left in the quarter. Utah won the ensuing faceoff leading to midfielder Dallas Reed scoring his first goal as a Ute, giving Utah its biggest lead of the game. Chapman would answer a minute later to bring the score to 9-7.
Not to be outdone by the offense, the Ute defense continued to make stops and cause turnovers. Goalie Quinton Swinney made save after save to maintain the lead. After a Chapman offense player found himself wide open in the center of the field, defensemen Christian Fletcher was able to save a goal by getting a last second trail check, causing a critical turnover.
The Panthers were able to find space in the stout Utah defense with six seconds left in the third quarter to cut the Utah lead to one heading into the final frame.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, midfielder Gus Colonna put the Utes on top with a jump shot rip down the right side. Chapman answered right back, filling the home fans with tension as their team came within one. Midfielder Ian Elson increased the tension as he put the Utes up by two with 10:30 left in the game.
Colonna would add his second of the night four minutes later to give Utah a three goal lead that would prove to be enough, as the Utah defense stood tall and the offense took the air out of the ball, sealing the Utah victory.
“There was no panic,” said Utah coach Brian Holman. “I didn’t sense anybody being worried. I sensed us putting one foot in front of the other. It’s good to see our guys putting what we practice into game scenarios. I’m extremely happy with the way we responded.”
Stout led the Utes with three goals and an assist. Four players notched two points. Utah had seven total goal scorers. Swinney tallied 10 saves on 19 shots.
The win marks the first time Utah has beaten a No. 1 ranked opponent and moves Utah to 8-1 in opening games in the last nine years. The victory is also the first over Chapman since 2004.
Utah (1-0) will take on Washington (2-1) on Saturday at the Pac-12 Shootout at UCLA. The game will begin at 9:30 a.m. PT and will be streamed live at uteslacrosse.com/gameday. (Internet speed and reliability may impact the ability to stream games).
Head Coach Brian Holman on players that won’t stand out on the stat sheet:
“Defensively, you look at guys like Kendall Jackson. He provided tremendous leadership on that side of the ball. Quinton (Swinney) was awesome then on the other side you had Cayden (Beyer). Those guys were solid and didn’t allow anything cheap and they played tough. Cam Redmond had a great goal and a huge ground ball in the fourth quarter that led to a goal. Luke Graney, captain, got two big goals for us. He didn’t score in our scrimmages so that was huge for us.”
Head Coach Brian Holman on what needs to be improved:
“We had a lot of unforced errors. Threw the ball away multiple times. We need to get into a better flow offensively right out of the blocks. We need to be ready when the whistle blows.”
Assistant Coach Adam Ghitelman on how the defense played:
“I thought we played sharp. We made some great adjustments and played together as a unit from the goal on out.”
Assistant Coach Adam Ghitelman on the play of goalie Quinton Swinney:
“He’s been great for us since day one and has been our backstop and plugs any holes. He does a great job being the general of our defense and clears the ball really well. Did a really good job for us and there is more to come from him.”
Attackman Luke Graney on scoring the first goal of the season:
“It felt great. I was so pumped. Right when we started to roll we continued and the momentum was there and it was awesome.”
Attackman Luke Graney on beating the No. 1 team:
“It was hard fought, it was everything that we worked for. We knew we were coming in for a really hard game and they showed us a tough, tough game. We practiced a lot of these situations so I felt we were really prepared. Our hard work payed off.”