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Lacrosse splits at conference tourney, prepares for nationals

JON HELGASON/Arizona Daily Wildcat

An Arizona lacrosse player scores a goal during the team‚s playoff win against Chapman University on April 21 at Laxcat Field. The Laxcats split a pair of weekend conference playoff games, and now await news of their seeding in the national tournament.

By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Apr. 30, 2002

The Laxcats finished their Western Collegiate Lacrosse League season with a split at the WCLL Final Four this weekend.

UA lost in the WCLL semifinal to Stanford 12-8 but bounced back with an 11-4 win over the University of California Santa Barbara in the third-place game.

This was the Laxcats‚ final tune-up for the United States Lacrosse Intercollegiate Association National Championships, which will be held May 8-12 in St. Louis.

„Overall, it was a good weekend to see where we stand,š senior goalie Greg Parkington said. „We played hard in both games; one game went our way and the other one didn‚t.š

The Laxcats salvaged the WCLL playoff weekend with an 11-4 win over UCSB on Sunday.

Sophomore attackman Jeems Lockridge led UA with four goals, including one in the middle of the second quarter that broke a 2-2 tie and put the Laxcats ahead for good.

With UA leading 5-3 in the middle of the third quarter, UCSB goalie Ryan Brittain received two one-minute, non-releasable, unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties.

This caused the Gauchos to play backup goalie Mark Gerrard, and the Laxcats responded by scoring three unanswered goals in those two minutes and sealed the win.

„(Brittain) is a loose cannon,š Parkington said. „We knew if we could get into his head, it was all over.š

UA‚s win against UCSB was crucial for the Laxcats to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time all year and to enter the playoffs with a win.

Saturday, UA dropped its second WCLL semifinal game in as many years, falling 12-8 to Stanford.

The Cardinal jumped all over the Laxcats with four goals to start out the game, and that proved to be the difference.

„It was tough losing that first game,š Parkington said.

Stanford was able to hold the Laxcats‚ leading scorer, senior attackman Jay Spatafora, in check most of the game. Cardinal defender Tim Sargens shadowed Spatafora the entire game and held him to two points, well below his 5.88-points-per-game average.

According to Parkington, the difference was that Stanford had four „garbageš goals, balls that were kicked in or deflected into the net.

„It was frustrating to lose in that kind of way,š Parkington said.

The Laxcats will now refocus their efforts to the USLIA National tournament.

In what Parkington calls the toughest week of the year, the Laxcat team members will juggle practice with completing their finals before leaving for St. Louis on May 7.

„It will be a very hectic week, and we are anxious to get out there and play our last week of lacrosse,š Parkington said.

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