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Lacrosse starts season in style

By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday Feb. 14, 2002

Laxcats face pair of San Diego schools in Arizona Stadium

The Laxcats open their spring season at home this weekend, but they will be playing in a bit of unfamiliar territory.

File photo/Arizona Daily Wildcat

A Laxcat player puts a shot on goal earlier this season. The Laxcats open their spring season Saturday against UCSD in Arizona Stadium.

For the first time in over two years, the Laxcats, who usually play at the much smaller Laxcat Field, will play a home game at Arizona Stadium when they face off against the University of California San Diego and the University of San Diego on Saturday and Sunday.

"It will be exciting, and I think (the team) will be a little awestruck with the size (of the stadium)," said first-year head coach Adam Hopkins about getting to play in the football stadium.

Senior goalie and captain Greg Parkington has pretty much the same feeling about playing in Arizona Stadium.

"It's awesome," Parkington added. "It's not an opportunity many people from this university have."

He also believes that the new game location will bring up the attendance numbers.

"Having the game on campus will attract more fans," Parkington said. "We are certainly not going to have 60,000 people in there, but we are going to take it for all it's worth."

The No. 13 Laxcats will be looking for revenge when they play division rival UCSD Saturday at 1 p.m. The Tritons handed Arizona their lone division loss last year in San Diego. UA lead 13-10 late in the contest but relinquished the lead and ended up losing in overtime, 14-13.

Hopkins said his team hasn't forgotten the loss.

"I expect a game filled with a lot of emotion," Hopkins said.

UCSD is currently ranked No. 25 in the nation according to the United States Lacrosse Intercollegiate Association and is coming off a 10-1 win over Cal State San Marcos this past weekend.

Hopkins described the Tritons as a "scrappy" team that is midfield-oriented and plays strong defense.

"If you sleep on them," Hopkins said, "they will beat you."

A Laxcat win Saturday would mean a head start in division standings and a jumpstart on a possible home playoff game.

On Sunday at 1 p.m., UA will play USD, a program coming off a down season last year. The Laxcats beat the Toreros 20-2 to contribute to USD's winless season.

"They are an up-and-coming program," Hopkins said, "and they will be better than last year."

UA is lead this season by four USLIA preseason All-Americans.

Junior defenseman Jeff Kinsella and junior attackman Charlie Mink were named to the second team, while Parkington was named to the third team and senior attackman Jay Spatafora received a spot on the honorable mention team.

According to Hopkins, the Laxcats play a unique brand of lacrosse and any one that comes out to watch this weekend will see a lot of action.

"We are a team that will full press for 60 minutes," said Hopkins. "You will see a lot of action, one-on-one matchups and fast breaks."

"We didn't have a great fall (season)," Hopkins said, "so this is an important weekend."


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