by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Man that was close.
UC Santa Barbara went up to Berkeley and took Cal to the limit. The Gauchos lost, 16-14, but in the old-school MCLA, that’s a quality loss.
Sure, the 16 goals allowed weren’t great, but 14 goals against the Golden Bear defense, which is expected to be one of the best in the nation?
That’s a pretty nice consolation prize.
For UCSB coach Mike Allan, who owns an MCLA ring with the Gauchos, it’s way simpler than that.
“I think the biggest positive is that we got to play,” Allan said. “We’ve been excited for that opportunity for a long time, so to be on the field competing felt great.”
It’s been a recurring theme here – just getting back to good. It may get tiresome, but it colors the entire backdrop of the 2020 season.
One of the substories of that narrative is the callow nature of many traditional MCLA powers.
There are going to be plenty of stories about “super-seniors.” And rightfully so. All of those guys who have been robbed of the last two years deserve all the accolades and respect.
But it just might be the incomers who make the difference for a lot of our contenders.
“We had a bunch of guys playing in their first college lacrosse game, so to play a good team on the road and compete like we did was encouraging,” said Allan.
“We have so many new faces, and it’s injected a lot of energy into the program. The time off put a lot of things in perspective. We’re just appreciating the time together and trying to build from week to week.”
Santa Barbara entertains Sonoma State on Saturday afternoon in a game that resonates with anyone who has followed the MCLA. From 2002-05, one of these outfits was in the MCLA title game.
Noma won it in ’02 while the UCSB took home the ’04 and ’05 crowns. The 2005 final was an 8-7 dandy between the two schools in upstate Minnesota won by the Gauchos.
Both teams don’t look like title contenders just yet, but perhaps UCSB can use the narrow loss to Cal as a catalyst.
“We are not at all satisfied by the result,” said Allan. “We’re looking forward to getting back on the field this week and having our first home game in almost two years.”
GAMES I’M FOLLOWING
Oregon at Dominican, 2 p.m. – Friday
There are going to be some other games that we’ll see in a minute that jump off the page, but this one is a sleeper. Dominican was ready to explode in 2020 before the world exploded, and Oregon is the perennial favorite to grab the PNCLL ticket to ride. This means more to the Penguins that Ducks, in my opinion.
Boston College at South Carolina, 7 p.m. – Friday
This will be lacrosse at its purest, as these two heavyweights won’t have a scout on each other after a two-year sleep. Both of the rosters are stacked with kids with great high school pedigrees, so I’m expecting a barnburner. I’m also curious to see Peter Candela in his new role as head coach of the Gamecocks.
Georgia at Florida, 7 p.m. – Friday
The Dawgs have rolled up three opponents at home so far, but now they hit the road for a Friday night showdown that will be a test for both teams. Georgia has the uneasy scenario of a rested Florida State squad waiting on Saturday, so they’ll have to stay focused against a Gators outfit looking to lock down a nice win.
Cal Poly at California, 12 p.m. – Saturday
BC-South Carolina would normally the game of the weekend, but not with this Top 6 showdown occurring. Both teams got a nice test in their openers, however there is no question that the winner is the favorite to get the WCLL golden ticket.
Western Michigan at Virginia Tech, 1 p.m. – Sunday
This might not resonate initially, but it’s probably worth the time to watch this one. WMU is a rising program in the UMLC while Virginia Tech has serious expectations to dethrone Liberty as the presumptive ALC favorite. The Hokies are the favorites, but the Broncos have a kick.
SLIDES & RIDES
- We had some solid award-winners in the first week. Head coaches, send your nominations to [email protected] for Warrior Player and Pearl Goalie of the week.
- Reminder: Scores are due to MCLA.us an hour after the game and box scores due within 72 hours.