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Friday March 9, 2001

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Unchallenged Laxcats look for competition away from home

By Jeff Lund

Arizona Daily Wildcat

It took the UA lacrosse club four wins by an average of 18 goals to get the respect they feel they deserve.

The undefeated Laxcats, now ranked No. 8 in the country, will try to turn a few more heads tomorrow when they travel to Santa Barbara, Calif., to take on No. 10 UC Santa Barbara.

"This is the biggest game of the season so far," head coach Mickey-Miles Felton said. "We jumped over (UCSB) in the polls, so that puts a different spin on the game. It gives them a little more to play for."

Felton said Santa Barbara - whose only defeat this season has come at the hands of No. 5 Sonoma State - is one of the most feared places to play.

"They call it 'the pit,'" Felton said. "Students get out there and bring couches, and sit right on the field. It is just a nasty place to play. Around 200 or 300 people show up to their games."

After a good week of practice, Felton said his team is ready to take on the Gauchos and come out of their five-game road trip with an unblemished record.

"Spirits are very high," Felton said. "We are focused on our goal of winning all of our games. The game against Santa Barbara is the biggest game so far. and (a match against) Whittier at the end will also be a big game for us. The three games in between shouldn't be tough, but we don't want a letdown."

Junior goalie Greg Parkington said the team is ready for a test.

"A lot of veteran players need to step up and set the tone against Santa Barbara," Parkington said. "We have the skill, we just need to make sure we play our game and we will be fine during the trip. It is almost getting frustrating beating up on opponents. We want someone that can play."

Sophomore defenseman Jeff Kinsella is also anxious for some competition after dominating their first four opponents, for which the average score was 22-3.

"We expect to win," Kinsella said of tomorrow's game. "It will be different playing quality teams. Being that Whittier is a (Division III) school, we will see where we stand with the rest of the nation. Older guys have given us little tidbits and tips for the road."

The Laxcats will play five games in nine days during their grueling road trip through California.