by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – With Texas and Oklahoma off on their new adventure in the RMLC and the recent decision by North Texas to go on a one-year hiatus, the Division I portion of the Lone Star Alliance (LSA) is streamlined this spring.
With just seven programs and six league games, every contest is going to be imperative as the teams jockey for the top seed in the conference tournament.
After the opening action of the season, Texas A&M is off to a quick lead in the race, having dispatched both Texas State and Arkansas over the weekend.
Carried by senior midfielder Gavin Planeta, who scored five goals and set up two others, the Aggies rolled past Texas State, 18-10 on Saturday.
On Sunday, Arkansas kept A&M under wraps for the first 45 minutes with the Razorbacks taking a 6-4 lead into the fourth quarter, only to see the Aggies rally with five unanswered for a 9-6 triumph. Freshman goalie Jason Kroslowitz made 19 saves in the winning effort.
A&M’s ability to win games on both the offensive and defensive sides of the field is a good sign, in line with the Aggies being the preseason favorites in the LSA.
While 2-0 was certainly the plan for Tony Scazzero’s squad, some of the biggest tests of the year still remain. Defending champion LSU is on the docket for this coming Friday in one of the most anticipated matchups on the conference slate.
Facing defending national champion South Carolina the following day actually turns the LSU tilt into a mini trap game for A&M.
The way the conference schedule sets up, TAMU will know where they stand by Feb. 16, with just Texas Tech remaining at the end of the schedule.
Unlike in the recent past – and certainly a rarity for LSA programs – A&M has the juice to get an at-large bid with a loaded non-conference slate.
That’s down the road, however. Right now, the Aggies are out front and in a good spot.
SLIDES & RIDES
- UT San Antonio easily took the first leg of the annual Taco Trophy, rolling past Trinity, 22-3. Senior midfielder Michael Ferrer led the Roadrunners with three goals and five assists for an impressive eight-point afternoon. Trinity will play in the second leg of the series on Feb. 9 when the Tigers entertain Incarnate Word.
- What are the games to watch this week? Friday is highlighted by the aforementioned Texas A&M-LSU contest. Saturday’s 22-game slate ushers in February with a bang, and the biggest is BYU visiting Georgia Tech at 6 p.m. local. Both teams have huge aspirations this spring.
South Carolina kicks off its season against Texas A&M on Saturday, as well, while we’ll also get our first looks at Utah Valley (against Boise State), Santa Clara (against Sonoma State) and Concordia-Irvine (against UCLA).
The Gamecocks at LSU leads the way on Sunday.
- Utah State beating MCLA Division I Boise State is a very good sign for the Aggies. There’s always the concern that RMLC-II teams can be one-hit wonders, but USU showed they might be ready for the long haul…keep an eye out for the New Balance Preseason Coaches Polls that will drop on Wednesday…reminder that the Dominant Performance of the Week presented by Warrior and the PEARL Goalie of the Week honors will start next week.