By Th‚oden K. Janes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Ray Rodio's back must be sore.

All season, the Arizona lacrosse club's senior goalie has carried the responsibility for his team's performance on his shoulders.

Some of that pressure was relieved, though, as Rodio's UA playing career came to a end with the Laxcats' season-ending 10-6 loss to UC Santa Barbara Friday night at Tucson High School.

After the game, Rodio accepted much of the blame with open arms.

"I think I wanted to put it all out towards the end there, but it was too little too late," said Rodio, who twice abandoned goal in the fourth quarter to take the ball the entire length of the field for a shot.

In the first quarter, Rodio allowed only one goal. In the fourth, just two. But it was the second and third quarters, in which the Gauchos scored seven times, that helped bury Arizona.

"I wasn't happy with my performance at all," Rodio said of his 15-save outing, much lower than the 20-plus saves he has been making in recent games. "I guess I used up all my goalie luck."

Rodio transferred to the UA from Suffolk County (N.Y.) Community College after the 1992 season, and played as a defenseman while four-year starter Jake McHerron occupied the goal.

Arizona was 21-3 last year and went to the semifinals of the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League playoffs. This year, however, the Laxcats finished 8-6 and missed qualifying for postseason play for the first time since 1980.

And after each loss, Rodio has put a lot of blame on himself. But Coach Mickey-Miles Felton sees things a little differently.

"The game is never in the goalie's hands," Felton said. "Losing is hard for anyone, nobody likes to lose. It just shows more in the goalie because he's the last stand.

"He's the last guy and whether it's his fault or not, he's the one that looks bad."

Felton said he admires Rodio's enthusiasm for the game, though, and will likely name him his defensemen coach for the 1995 season. Graduating UC Santa Barbara goalie Davey Deffinbaugh will become Arizona's goalie coach next season.

Hopefully, coaching will not be nearly as stressful for Rodio as playing has been.

"I added some gray hairs to my head playing goalie this year," Rodio said, "but I'm really looking forward to coming back and working with the defense next season."

In the loss to UCSB, Arizona midfielder Brooks Singer scored three goals, while the Gauchos' Chris Goodroe and Jared Karol each had four. Read Next Article