Laxcats expect easy victory vs. LMU
UA enters playoff game without one of its top scorers
As the Arizona Laxcats enter the 2000 Western Collegiate Lacrosse League playoffs, they have the luxury of playing a team they already defeated two weeks ago by a score of 25-3.
The Laxcats (10-5 overall, 6-0 in WCLL), who will compete in the Division A South quarterfinals, are the No. 1 seed as they face off against No. 4 Loyola-Marymount University. The two teams play tomorrow at Wildcat Field at 1 p.m.
Two weeks ago, LMU was missing six players from their roster, and their status for tomorrow's game is still unclear.
"I am not sure what to expect because they were missing players last time," junior defenseman Tom Christian said. "We need to concentrate on playing our best game without having mental lapses. Since this is the quarterfinals, if we lose, we do not play anymore."
Sophomore attack Eric Renner said he expects the Laxcats to emerge from tomorrow's game with a victory.
"We should do pretty well against them," Renner said. "We are not going to look past them, but we expect to win."
The Laxcats, ranked 10th in the U.S. Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates, have won all six of their WCLL games this season and look for that streak to continue.
The Laxcats will be without one of its leading scorers tomorrow, as junior midfielder Nate Schmidt was kicked off the team for "personal problems," according to head coach Mickey-Miles Felton.
Schmidt, who will not play in the playoffs has scored 12 goals and has had nine assists this season.
"He is a very key loss for us, but I know other people will step up," Felton said. "It depends on who plays well, who will take his place, it could be either Bruce Lane or Lon Packer."
"Nate was a power on offense, but we should have other guys step up," Renner said. "Should not be that big of a loss."
Schmidt declined to comment on the reasons behind his dismissal from the team.
Good news for the Laxcats, though, is that senior midfielder Jevon Lake will play against LMU. He had an MRI done earlier this week, but his sore knee should be fine by game time.
Also, senior defenseman Jeff Cady, who has been fighting injuries for the past month, will play.
Earlier this season, the Laxcats went through a phase where they played down to the level of their opponent.
"We need to focus earlier in the week," Felton said. "If we are not successful Saturday, our season is over, which should be good motivation in itself. As a coach, I like to tell the players what I think of the team honestly and what our chances are."
Felton said the key factors for the Laxcats will be the same throughout the playoffs.
"I am expecting the same thing that we do every week, and I think quite honestly that their defense cannot handle our offense," Felton said. "I just do not think they can beat us."
Lake, though, cautioned that the Lions' mentality could prove dangerous for Arizona.
"LMU has nothing to lose," Lake said. "Since it could be their last game, they will give it all they got, and we have to be ready for it."
The Laxcats are fighting for the right to compete in the WCLL Final Four next weekend in San Diego.
Maxx Wolfson can be reached at email@example.com.