by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – The last team that owned an in-season No. 1 poll ranking was Cal Poly.
It was back in 2020, but there is no questions Mustangs were rolling. They were 8-1 and just coming off a victory over Cal.
After No. 6 Cal Poly knocked off No. 19 USC, 12-10, on Saturday evening in L.A., the Mustangs could realistically be considered the hottest MCLA over the past two years.
And that’s no joke.
USC is an extremely dangerous team.
“They sure are,” admitted Poly coach Bobby Dabrieo. “We knew this would be a highly competitive game and we are excited to get back to work on Monday with a 1-0 record.”
The top ranking from 2020 will be a vestige of – hopefully – a bygone era or maybe a trivia question. But that Cal Poly team is gone.
“Considering the turnover and lack of experience, we fully understand that this a brand-new team still figuring out its identity,” said Dabrieo. “No matter the ranking, we’re aware of the program’s traditional success and expect every opponent’s best game. That said, this group knows we have to create our own success.”
The time has finally arrived pic.twitter.com/sdhEafhvWa
— GCU Men's Lacrosse (@GCUlacrosse) February 7, 2022
The cupboard is certainly not bare. Not by a long shot.
Long-pole Grif Hawblitzel was a nightmare for the Trojans, creating four turnovers and gobbling up five ground balls. Backboning the defense was Tom Baquerizo, who turned away 15 shots in the victory.
“No matter the ranking, we’re aware of the program’s traditional success and expect every opponent’s best game,” said Dabrieo. “That said, this group knows we have to create our own success and we were reminded of that at this past fall during alumni weekend.”
The USC win was a big one for the Mustangs. The Trojans are going to be a big problem for the SLC this spring.
Beating a quality team is what you’d expect from a squad that held the crown before things got stupid in ‘20.
Next weekend is when we really find out about this Poly outfit.
“Developing team chemistry is critical, but nothing does that better than two tough road trips to begin the year,” said Dabrieo. “Now we head to the Bay to play Cal and Oregon.”
If there is another perfect weekend in the cards for the Mustangs, it'll feel a lot like March 2020.
SLIDES & RIDES
- Get those nominations for the Warrior Player of the Week and the Pearl Goalie of the Week to [email protected] pronto. Each division will be represented.
- Minnesota took care of business against Division II powers St. Thomas and Minn.-Duluth, showing off their chops on both the defensive and offensive end. Against the Tommies on Friday, the Gophers locked the door on defense, posting a 6-2 victory. On Saturday, the offense took the spotlight in a 16-13 triumph against the Bulldogs.
- Division II Utah was outshot 61-21 against Division I Utah Valley, but managed to keep the game interesting before bowing, 10-7. The Utes were actually up 5-4 at halftime, but the Wolverines rallied in the final 30 minutes.
- Coastal Carolina got a jump on the competition in ALC Division II, dropping Appalachian State, 15-7, in the conference opener. UNC-Charlotte also had a good weekend, downing D-I West Virginia, 11-9.