Laxcats get chicken soup, division title
The "chicken soup" that UA head coach Mickey-Miles Felton was looking for proved valuable for the Laxcats last weekend.
Arizona beat Loyola-Maramount University 22-5 on Saturday, giving the team the division title and a No. 1 seed in the West Coast Lacrosse League playoffs.
"It feels really good to be champions," sophomore defenseman Kevin Tripp said.
"I am sitting here with goose bumps. This is the first time in a long time, maybe ever, that the Laxcats have won the division because Whittier has won it every year," he said.
The Laxcats, 9-5 overall and 5-0 in WCLL, dominated the game, outshooting the Lions 53-13.
"I thought it was a positive win," junior midfielder Matt Wilkens said. "The team just really came out and sent a message that Arizona is a serious lacrosse team and is not a joke."
Loyola-Maramount went into the game shorthanded by only having 16 healthy players, which turned out to be a major factor in the Laxcat victory.
"The thing was, we were able to take our guys off the field and put in fresh guys," Wilkens said. "We were able to get everyone in so each player could gain more experience."
The Laxcats got off to a quick start, going up 5-0 in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, LMU picked up the pace, scoring three goals on only three shots on goal.
The Laxcats, though, were able to hold off an LMU charge and took a 9-3 lead to the locker room at the half. In the second half, the game was controlled by the Laxcats, who outscored LMU 13-2.
"Depth proved to be too big of a factor," Felton said. "They (LMU) needed to show a little more life."
Wilkens and sophomore attacker Matt Martini led Arizona with five goals and four goals, respectively.
"It felt good to score five goals," Wilkens said. "Though it really was not that big of a deal. We were all feeding off of each other, and it created many opportunities for guys to score."
After a poor showing in Michigan two weeks ago, the Laxcats needed to get back in the win column.
"This is absolutely what we needed," Felton said. "Emotionally, we needed a very good positive game, and combining that with the significance and the timing, it was a very positive situation."
No significant injuries were reported in the game, but senior defenseman Jeff Caddie sat out most of the game with reoccurring injuries.
"Tripp took over for Jeff and really stepped up in his place," Felton said.
"It felt really good to get in there and help out someone who was hurt. That is what my job is to do," Tripp said.