Laxcats pull through in nailbiter vs. BYU

By David Vickter
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, February 24, 2005

The No. 6 Laxcats came out and fought hard for a victory last night, led by three goals from sophomore midfielder Harrison Crawford, in a 9-8 barnburner against No. 3 BYU.

Due to the field damage done in the two matches played Saturday and Sunday, the game was moved to the Rincon Vista fields, known as a harder and faster playing surface.

"(It) was actually a little easier to shoot," Crawford said. "I liked this surface better because it's the field we practice on."

Both teams came out like gangbusters from the get go, throwing checks back and forth in a very physical first quarter.

Arizona's Dave Sherman scored the game's first goal in the third minute to give the Laxcats (3-1) the first momentum of the game.

Once the Laxcats found themselves with a two-goal lead, the Cougars (0-1) made adjustments to tend to the Arizona midfielders, who provided Arizona with additional offensive support.

Senior midfielder Bryan Cox served as a tremendous asset on defense, filling the middle to prevent the fast-breaking Cougars from penetrating the Laxcats' defensive zone.

Junior goaltender Charles Salemi, who had missed the team's first three games because of an ankle injury, was back in goal last night in what may have been the biggest game of the season for his squad.

Salemi held tight against the Cougars and their offensive leader, Mark Tschagenny, keeping the cage shut with 17 saves.

"I was more nervous than I have ever been coming out to play this game," Salemi said.

In the last minute of the first half, BYU scored a quick goal before going into the break down 6-2.

Both squads went back and forth in the third quarter, as Crawford put away two unassisted goals to give Arizona an 8-4 lead.

The Cougars managed to pull within two after Salemi was caught in a scrap away from the ball. The subsequent goal was placed in the top corner, right over Salemi's left shoulder.

A Laxcat penalty with less than two minutes to go gave the Cougars one last opportunity to tie the game, but senior attackman Adam Paris completed a hat trick to ensure the victory.

The Laxcats (3-1) play New York Tech, a Division II school, in a scrimmage Friday in Phoenix.