Utah lacrosse club topples USC

The U lacrosse club (1-0) opened its spring season with a resounding 17-3 victory over USC (0-2) in The Bubble on Sunday morning.

Utah came into the game with confidence after a relatively successful fall campaign. Fall games are not counted toward the club’s official record, but they often provide a measuring stick for how well the team will do when the games start to count.

With a somewhat young group, the experience gained in the fall season was already evident in the club’s first game of the year, as the Utes jumped out to a 7-0 lead.

Utah’s top two scorers of the fall season, attackmen Tom Fernandez, a freshman, and sophomore Rich Qualey scored the club’s first two goals of the season.

Qualey, named second-team all conference last year, looked destined to have a dominating spring season, finishing the game with three goals. Fernandez, who finished the game with a team high six goals, demonstrated his aptitude for scoring while proving his potential for all-conference honors by the end of the season.

In a game such as lacrosse, ball control is often the key to success. As with soccer, if a team can’t get control of the ball, it will have difficulty getting shots on goal. The Utes proved to be well-aware of this basic strategy as they handled the ball for most of the first half, giving the Trojans only a few looks at the net.

Also, powerful interior defense was a key for the Utes as USC was limited to far-off shots on goal when it was able to get control of the ball. At the half, the 10-1 score indicated a blowout, but USC seemed to be closing the gap a bit in the second quarter. The Utes came out stronger in the third quarter, scoring the first four goals, never to look back.

After the game, U head coach Mason Goodhand spoke about his club’s ability to manage several of the intangibles.

“We played well between the whistles,” Goodhand said. “We didn’t wait for the ball to be in play before we got into position. Also, our attackmen turned back their defense on a number of occasions, and our defense made it almost impossible to pass upfield to USC’s attackmen.”

“It was a great win,” he continued. “But we have to be able to play a full game like the first quarter if we want to compete with higher caliber teams.”

Last week, USC played BYU’s nationally ranked lacrosse squad, and beat it by the same margin that the Utes defeated the Trojans. In fact, the scores of both games were identical: 17-3. This gave Utah’s club a reason for optimism, as BYU regularly trounces the Utes.

However, as the final score of both USC games indicates, this year could be different.

[email protected]