AUSTIN, Texas – The Caven Lacrosse Complex on the campus of the University of Texas is standing room only as Pittsburgh makes the 1,500-mile trip to Austin for a big Cinderella quarterfinal matchup.
The Longhorns’ last contest featured an absolute wipeout of Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, 25-6.
The Panthers cruised past Purdue and Illinois State in their last bit of regular season action in 2020.
D-I Quarters: Pitt at Texas | https://t.co/qNPXAo0CVf #virtualmcla20
— MCLA Tournament '21 (@MCLA_Tournament) April 19, 2020
Who will be the senior leaders guiding these two programs into the virtual quarters?
“A year ago, both players were rehabbing injuries that cost them their entire junior seasons, but both decided that they wanted to play again and worked hard last summer to be ready for their senior seasons,” said Texas coach Seth Bokmeyer. “They have been instrumental in Texas’ success this year.”
How would these two matchup with Pitt?
“With the Texas attack drawing so much attention from the Pitt defense, it will be important for the Texas mids to step up and the Texas staff will be looking to Kenny to be one of the mids to take advantage of that opportunity,” Bokmeyer said. “Kenny is one of the team’s most polished mids, and is both a great finisher and feeder.
“Banks is a key to the Texas defensive and will play both LSM and close during the game as needed and will be matched up with their most athletic offensive player. Banks is not only a shut-down defender, but when he is on the field it, it's like we have a second coach out there.”
Countering the Longhorns duo will be Sean Culhane, a close defender out of Ridgefield, Conn.
“The silent assassin,” said Pitt coach Richard Rattner.
Culhane showed up every day, rain or shine, for four years. He wasn’t flashy or looking for the limelight. He never played outside his capabilities and as such, he shut opponents down.
"Sean came to work every practice and every game,” said Rattner. “He a true working man's defender. He packs his lunchbox, comes to work and gives an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay "
No. 29 Pittsburgh smashed a powerful Colorado outfit in the first round before barely squeezing past Auburn to make it to this point.
No. 28 Texas rolled through California and Utah Valley to set up this contest with the Panthers.
A semifinal ticket is on the line.