(Photo by Kevin Schoonover)
by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – The University of Mississippi played a men’s lacrosse game is Los Angeles last night.
I see you shrugging.
You don’t understand what that means. You don’t understand what a hurdle that has been cleared by the student-athletes and the program at Ole Miss.
What you need to know is that up until this year, the Rebels haven’t left the old Confederacy since their inception. Missouri was the extent of Ole Miss’ travels and, thanks to compromise from long ago, that has kept the Rebels true to their geography.
On Friday night, however, the Ole Miss players were a couple of blocks from Downtown L.A., battling it out with Southern Cal in a fantastic non-conference contest. On Saturday, the Rebels will be over in Westwood facing UCLA.
Why is this significant?
One of the most regionally restricted programs in the MCLA has decided to branch out. Ole Miss realized that they can’t just sit back and grab their non-conference games from the LSA and call it a season.
The bar is constantly rising and the Rebels figured out they needed to make a statement.
And they have.
What undoubtedly helped their decision to commit to a California excursion was watching the other SELC Southwest teams branch out and have some success. They weren’t ever going to catch Georgia Tech, Georgia, Auburn and even Alabama by playing within a five-hour bus ride.
They needed to show everyone, including themselves, that the spring season wasn’t just a time-killer. The Rebels have goals and they are pursuing them.
Ole Miss’ seriousness was actually displayed earlier when they went to Indiana for the first time to face Iowa State and Indiana. They split that road trip, and let everyone know they’ll be showing up ready to roll.
The scores from Friday night and Saturday are really inconsequential. Ole Miss has shaken off the stigma of being a regional lightweight and taken the first big step in showing they are for real.
May other programs find their footprints easy to follow.
Slides & Rides
No. 16 Texas A&M won the first leg of their Southeast swing, rallying to knock off Auburn, 12-11. No. 4 Georgia Tech on deck…Rice ended Texas A&M-Galveston’s five-game winning streak with an 11-8 victory…No. 8 Virginia Tech needed overtime to subdue UConn, 8-7. No. 3 Gamecocks on deck for the Hokies…No. 11 Boston College held off Florida, 13-10…No. 18 Clemson dispatched Georgia…Missouri State bundled K-State, 16-0...Utah Valley cruised past Simon Fraser, 13-4, which isn't good news for Santa Clara or Grand Canyon...Arkansas is grabbing control of the_mcla Snapchat for the battle with Southern Methodist today.