FORT MYERS, Fla. – San Diego is going beach-to-beach for a quarterfinal matchup with Florida Gulf Coast – one of the few campuses that can go toe-to-toe with the Toreros’ beautiful digs.
Both of these teams played three games before the end of times, going a combined 1-5. With that said, they both played some quality competition.
While dripping with plenty of talent, each team leaned on an under-the-radar senior to keep the team hungry.
D-II Quarters: San Diego at Florida Gulf Coast | https://t.co/kdu85Uz3UM #virtualmcla20
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For Florida Gulf Coast, that is undoubtedly Hunter Davis.
A product of Cranston, R.I. – the Biggest Little State in the Union – Davis has been climbing the depth chart his entire four-year career. A long-stick midfielder by trade, Davis transitioned to short-stick defensive midfield this spring.
“We only played three games this year, but if you watched them, you’d notice his leadership on the field,” said Florida Gulf Coast coach Vinny Valentine.
There are only three seniors on this year’s edition of the Eagles, with the other two receiving all-conference honors. Davis doesn’t have those, but he has the respect of his teammates for showing out every day.
“In previous years, he kind of found himself as the third or even fourth LSM on the depth chart,” said Valentine. “This year, we changed some things up and he was actually getting a lot of playing time.
“But even in past years, his attitude and his leadership on the sidelines was unmatched. He was constantly yelling, constantly cheering on the team. His big catch phrase from last year was, ‘Get your bag.’”
The presence of Jack Brennan has not only been a huge part of San Diego’s success, but also its existence.
With the Toreros going through an offseason coaching change, the West Chester, Pa., product kept the program moving in the right direction. His cohesion allowed San Diego to hit the ground running as opposed to faltering from the start.
“Without Jack, there is a real possibility we would not have had a team this season to field,” said San Diego coach Iric Bressler.
The Malvern Prep grad was a hunter on the backline, getting the ball on the ground and then back up with ease.
“It kills me that he worked so hard and then for his senior season to then be cancelled,” said Bressler. “This program owes him and his leadership a huge debt of gratitude. In a lacrosse sense, if we had a season to play, I bet anything that he would have been the guy that got the crucial ground ball when our team needed it the most, time and time again.”
As this matchup moves to the WiFi world, No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast would appear to have a significant advantage with a student body nearly twice the size of No. 26 San Diego.
The Eagles have taken down Cal State San Marcos and Grand Valley State so far, so advancing to the semifinals is certainly within reason.
The Toreros are a motivated bunch, however. They’ve bounced both St. Thomas and UC Davis to get to this point.
A ticket to the final four is in the offing. Who wants it more?