(Photo by Bob White)
by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Caged animals are rarely friendly.
When lacrosse players have been walled off for 757 days, they can be particularly ornery.
That’s the lacrosse purgatory that Simon Fraser has been drifting in while the rest of North American lacrosse resumed play.
757 days. Preposterous.
Thanks to, uh, science (?), the border between the U.S. and Canada has acted as a clinical and financial barrier for the past two years, but now that the Maple Leafs and Flames are in NHL contention, everything has changed.
We’ve got Simon Fraser back!
And the MCLA couldn’t be happier.
It’s certainly not been an easy ride for SFU
“The last few months have been tough on the team and at times we've definitely been frustrated,” said Simon Fraser coach Matt Sobey. “Regardless of the consistent setbacks we've had to face, the team's intensity and attitude has been high and their resilience has been admirable.”
Now that Canada has removed the mandatory testing to enter the country – a time-consuming and costly obstacle – Fraser has the ability to fulfill its PNCLL obligations.
As it turns out, the two-year saga ended on Sunday when Oregon made the trip over the border to Burnaby for the Fraser’s first action since 2022.
SFU defeated the Ducks to start the season on the right note.
Because the other four games will be in the states, Sunday was also Senior Day for those intrepid upperclassmen who have stuck it out for this long.
They deserve all the praise given.
Alas, how good is this Fraser team?
It’s a big question.
The Oregon win is a decent indication, but there is a lot to learn about this squad.
“This team has a lot to prove and without the opportunity to do so earlier in the season, they're hungrier than ever to show how hard they've worked while they've been unable to travel,” said Sobey.
The team has been having regular practices all spring despite the uncertainty that lay ahead, even getting a couple of scrimmages in against the University of British Columbia.
Still, there is no substitute for live game action, and Fraser will get plenty of it as they will play their entire five-game conference schedule over a span of nine days in hopes of possibly getting eligible for the conference tournament.
It’s the not the best-case scenario.
After the last 757 days, Fraser will take any case to get back on that game field.
MY TOP FIVES
1. Brigham Young (11-0) – Big East Coast spring break trip upcoming for the Cougars.
2. Concordia-Irvine (9-1) – The inevitability of a title rematch with BYU is hard to ignore.
3. Florida (12-1) – Only one game left on the docket for the Gators: Noles.
4. Virginia Tech (9-1) – The Hokies roasting Clemson on the road is an eye-opener.
5. Minnesota (12-0) – The Gophers have qualified for the UMLC tournament!
1. College of Idaho (8-0) – Hanging a 16-burger on Utah State? Yikes.
2. Kennesaw State (8-0) – After blitzing App State, the Owls are in the regular-season barn.
3. St. Thomas (8-2) – Nice comeback win against MoState. Still a handful.
4. Dayton (6-1) – Flyers wrap things up with a trek to the Twin Cities for a pair.
5. Grand Valley State (7-1) – Tidy little business trip for the Lakers.
SLIDES & RIDES
- Huge statement from Virginia Tech going to South Carolina and burying Clemson on their own field, 21-11. This sends the Hokies into the ALC tournament as a likely one seed (good for a first-round bye), although NC State has been a handful this year. Contests against Liberty and BYU could earn Tech a pretty tasty seed if they sweep up the end of the year.
- Dayton has to play Minn.-Duluth and St. Thomas still has St. John’s to lock in exactly how the UMLC draw will look when all six teams converge on Chaska, Minn., in a couple of weeks. Assuming the higher-ranked teams prevail, we’ll get GVSU-St. John’s and NDSU-Duluth in the first-round matchups.
- TCU traveling to California and picking up a win over Chapman is a big moment for the LSA. The conference won’t be able to break into the next level unless it makes these kinds of trips and pockets a win or two. A&M traveled to Utah and didn’t get the results it wanted against UVU and BYU, but that trip is still valuable. The committee notices these things and it reflects in seedings. Maybe not this year, but the LSA is definitely trending upward.
NOTES: Peeking ahead, Georgia Tech heading to Beantown to face Northeastern is going to be awesome…USC trimming Grand Canyon in overtime is a result that could resonate. Both the Trojans and Lopes look good for the SLC postseason right now, but tie-breakers can be cruel…I see you Kansas. The Jayhawks look formidable…FGCU beating FAU by a goal is the competitive level expected out of that contest.
- As always, get your nominations for the Warrior Player of the Week and PEARL Goalie of the Week to info@mcla,us.us on the quick.