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Monday March 19, 2001

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UA loses undefeated season in vacation series

Headline Photo


UA freshman attacker Charlie Mink tangles with a Chapman opponent Feb. 16 at Laxcat Coliseum. The UA lacrosse team lost its first two games of the season during Spring Break, as team-related suspensions and a grueling travel schedule took its toll.

By Jeff Lund

Arizona Daily Wildcat

For the Laxcats, spring break brought many firsts.

It was the first time Arizona had played away from the friendly confines of Laxcat Coliseum this season. It also marked UA's first losses of an otherwise-successful season.

A number of team members were suspended for violation of team rules following UA's 20-2 defeat of the University of San Diego in San Diego, Calif., leaving the Laxcats thin and vulnerable.

UC San Diego took advantage of the situation.

The Laxcats led 13-10 late in the game, but squandered the lead as the game went to overtime.

Though coach Mickey-Miles Felton set numerous plays in an attempt to pull away with a win, the Laxcats could not find the net and eventually lost in overtime, 14-13.

"They did the best they could," Felton said. "It was the most exciting, interesting game of the year. (UCSD) celebrated like they had just won the national championship. Our players will never forget (UCSD's) reaction."

Still reeling from the suspensions and the team's first loss, the Laxcats closed out their road trip against Division III Whittier.

The undermanned Laxcats were no match for the NCAA-recognized Whittier team. UA dropped its second match of the year, 24-10.

"Under the circumstances, it wasn't that bad of a score," Felton said. "UCSD took a toll, and the team didn't have the energy."

Felton said he was very pleased with how the trip started, but the actions of a few players disappointed him.

"The trip started off very positively," Felton said. "I am confident that had the problems not occurred during the trip, we would still be undefeated."

UA started the trip with a 10-9 victory against UC Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Down 8-6 entering the fourth quarter, the team rallied to tie the game, 9-9, then took the lead on a goal by Brian Moore with just under six minutes left in the game.

The Laxcats held the lead and came out of UCSB's not-so friendly confines with a victory.

"It was a great win for us," UA head coach Mickey-Miles Felton said. "We didn't play very well, but we showed a lot of character by coming back."

UA's Eric Renner - who leads the league in assists - finished with four, and Josh Morrison led the Laxcats with four goals.

Jevon Lake said the number of games coupled with the team's suspensions eventually wore down the team during their vacation road trips.

"Playing so many games took a toll on us," Lake said. "We faced some serious mental challenges, but we have learned from it."

Felton said yesterday that the players have served their suspensions and will be back in action against Auburn Friday night.