I know it’s been a while everyone. It has been a hectic end to the semester in Bloomington, and we have a lot to cover. It has been an awesome couple of weeks for us and we’re gearing up for our biggest game of the year this Friday. We haven’t beaten Illinois in a long time and you can tell by the mood of the team this is something we want bad. Yes, we have locked up the #1 seed in the GRLC conference tournament, but that hasn’t changed anything in regards to our preparation for this game. If you haven’t heard, we will play the winner of Iowa vs. Wisconsin in the semi-finals because of our first round bye. We played well against Iowa earlier this season, but Wisconsin would be a very interesting matchup. They fell to Illinois 10-7, but beat Purdue 11-5. Purdue beat Illinois 9-6 to knock them out of the post-season. It’s a conundrum. But I have learned this year that the MCLA is known for being unpredictable, so you have to show up every game. The word around the interwebs is the GRLC is one of the most wide open conferences in the nation. It is up for grabs and it is up to us to finish strong this Friday then gear up for the tournament the next weekend. But let’s take a look at how we got here.
Mizzou, W 15-5
Not only was it the best day of lax weather we’ve had all year, it was one of the best games we have played so far this season. We had a great and exuberant crowd who spurred us on the whole game. Coach keeps preaching that we need to play a complete 60 minutes, and we are still looking for that game. But we are getting closer and closer to finding that 60 minutes and we’re getting there at the right time. A slow first half saw us up 5-3 at the break. Though to say it was an uncomfortable lead would be an understatement. We knew we had to step up our game in the second half. We barreled through the third quarter putting it out of reach with one of our best 15 minutes all year. It was a great Saturday in Bloomington with our banquet following the game. The banquet featured a very eloquent speech by Senior goalie Peter Moore. He has stuck with this team through some rough seasons but never gave up. Pete is not only one of the most beloved members of our team, he also has kept us in many games this season with his stellar play. His save percentage is just below 70%, which is astounding in the first place. But he faces a large amount of shots per game and has made some of the most athletic saves I’ve seen in my time as a player. We wouldn’t be who we are on and off the field without him. It’s a bummer that I only get one season with him, but we all wish him the best after graduation.
He also is the biggest clown on the team. Ridiculous.
Purdue, W 13-5
This one was a doozy. There was a lot of hype going into this game, with well-known MCLA mind Jac Coyne even giving insight on the game. Purdue beat us in the fall, and while people will say it was preseason and everyone was learning the ropes, I will tell you we were not happy about that game. I have to give a ton of credit to our defense here. We struggled with Palen Rhodes, who is a great attackman, in the fall. We were ready for him and our longpoles did a great job of shutting him down. It still wasn’t quite a 60 minute effort, but a strong game nonetheless. We very well might see Purdue again in the tournament. It is always great to get a rivalry win, but they are a good squad and we would look forward to the chance to play them again in the tournament.
A quick word on Little 5. It is something Hoosiers take a lot of pride in. If you are a student or in the Bloomington area, you need to make the race a bucket list event. It’s a long one but it is exciting the whole time and a great atmosphere. Now, because I’m writing this post I’m going to take liberties and give a shout out to my fraternity bike team Pi Kappa Phi. They represented us well and also sported the best socks on the track.
A lot of our players are greek so we had a lot of lacrosse players make it to the race. Middie Jake Thomas’ Delts team finished a very close second after winning the race last year. Overall, it’s a great week on campus and one of the best times of the year.
Well there you have it. A couple solid weeks summed up before we make the big postseason run. We’re extremely excited about the opportunities we have created, especially being such a young team. This has been a great season and we look forward to keeping it going for at least a couple more weeks.