It’s time, laxfans! After a long offseason that included big changes for the lacrosse landscape in Utah, the season is officially upon us. The season kicks off with two MCLA games this weekend when the No. 10 Arizona Wildcats come to town to take on No. 6 BYU and last year’s surprise contender UVU.
2/4 – Arizona @ BYU – 4:00pm
The Laxcats and Cougars took the year off from playing each other last season, but in 2015 played a thriller that ended in a 10-9 BYU victory. There will be some unknowns about an Arizona team that promoted defensive coordinator Spencer Fuqua to head coach after last season. The Laxcats also graduated last year’s starting goalkeeper, three starting longpoles, and lost both of their main faceoff specialists from a year ago. But Arizona does return firepower on the other end of the field, bringing back leading scorer Jerome Rigor at attack and dangerous midfielders Christian Turri and Zach Rodgers.
The Cougars also return their leading scorers in sophomores Chris Severson and Winston Farley and the defense will be anchored by experienced seniors Max Neser, Harrison Wardle, and Devin Needs. But, like the Laxcats, BYU will have new faces in the cage and at the faceoff X. The story of this game should be the battle for possession at the center X and the Cougs’ strong defensive unit against the Wildcat threats at both midfield and attack.
2/5 – Arizona @ Utah Valley – 1:00pm
Arizona will have the advantage of having a game under their belt when they take the field against the Wolverines, but will have the disadvantage of being on short rest, playing just a day after their top-10 matchup with BYU. UVU shocked the MCLA last season when they opened with a huge upset win over defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Grand Canyon University and will be upset-minded again when they take on the No. 10 Laxcats. The Wolverines return two of three leading scorers from last season in Brian Quick and Justin Haws at attack, but lost all three leading midfielders from last year. They also join Arizona and BYU in replacing both goalkeeper and FOGO this season. This game will come down to how well each team has reloaded at key positions from last season and if the Wildcats’ legs can hold up on day two against a young Wolverine squad with a deep bench.