Lacrosse has high hopes for postseason

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

The U lacrosse team’s season-long goal of qualifying for the national championship tournament in Dallas was put in jeopardy over the weekend when the Utes dropped a pair of games to Oregon and Chapman University.

On Saturday, the Utes couldn’t overcome an early 9-0 deficit on the road against No. 3 Oregon. The Utes, who are ranked No. 13 in the 200-team Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, fell to 5-6 on the season.

“We came back and played a really good second half,” said Ute coach Rich Levi, who is in his rookie year as head coach of what he refers to as “a program on the rise.”

The Utes outscored the Ducks in the second half, narrowing the gap to 16-7, but the early hole proved to be too deep.

On Sunday, Utah had a chance to pick up a win over another ranked team in No. 18 Chapman. With a minute to go, Utah trailed 14-13 but Chapman scored a late goal that sealed the defeat for Utah.

“It’s a really disappointing loss,” said Ute captain Tom Fernandez. “The whole entire game I thought we were the better team. We just couldn’t pull it together.”

The Utes are led by two starting attackers. Going into the weekend, Fernandez averaged 3.63 points per game for the Utes. Fellow attacker Stefan Turkula, who was named Talon Lacrosse Player of the Week on April 6, leads the team with 4.25 points per game.

The Utes, who play in the toughest conference in the MCLA according to Fernandez, will try to rebound from the frustrating road trip this weekend when they take on two in-state foes in UVSC and Westminster.

With four games to go, the Utes’ postseason hopes will probably hinge on how they play against No. 2 BYU in their season finale April 19, Fernandez said.

The top 10 teams in the country are guaranteed spots in the 16-team national championship along with winners of each conference. At No. 13, the Utes are on the bubble, Fernandez said.