Thursday, November 6, 2008

Duck Men Fare Well in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nv. – The University of Oregon Men’s lacrosse team faced their first major test of the 2008-2009 season as they competed in Las Vegas’ annual Best of the West lacrosse classic. Throughout the tournament, the Ducks showed that they can compete with the best in the country while learning what aspects of their game they need to improve for the spring season.

The weekend started out strong for the University of Oregon, as they won both of their Friday games. The Ducks first trial came against Westminster College of Salt Lake City, Utah. Oregon showed little rust after their travel and came out strong against the Griffins. The Ducks controlled the game from the start to beat Westminster, a very good squad in their own right.

The second Friday game proved to be the highlight of the tournament for the Ducks as they took on bitter out of conference rival BYU. The Cougars played NCAA D1 schools UMBC and Denver earlier in the fall so the Ducks knew they would be a polished opponent. The game was a battle throughout the contest, with the University of Oregon fighting back from deficits and responding to seemingly every goal scored by BYU. The Cougars had a chance to score the winning goal with 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter but were thwarted by Nick Musgrove, a sophomore goalie transfer from the University of Arizona. The Ducks won the opening faceoff of overtime but a hard shot from Kevin Clark was stopped by the BYU goaltender. BYU had two chances to score on their following possession but the Ducks’ defense held strong and gave their offense one more shot. Will DeSiervo, a senior midfielder, finished the game with a running left-handed shot and the bench stormed the field to celebrate with their teammates. Although the Ducks admittedly did not play a perfect game and did not look quite as polished as their opponents, their grit and athleticism won out in the end and proved that this will be a team to be reckoned with in the near future.

The Ducks finished out the weekend with three games on Saturday, playing Arizona, UC Davis, and Arizona State, a final four team from the 2008 season. Oregon took care of business against Arizona early in the day, lead by Will DeSiervo’s first quarter hat trick and the play of senior middie Jon Matusiefsky as well as lockdown defense from Cole Magnuson and Austin Zilis. The following games however showed the Ducks that they still have much work to do in order to get to the championship-caliber team that they wish to be as they dropped a low scoring contest to UC Davis 3-1 and lost decisively to Arizona State to end a grueling three-game day.

Despite dropping their last two contests, the Ducks were very enthusiastic about their performance in Las Vegas. Coach Andrew Clough said, “The tournament was very good to get a feel for where we’re at as a team right now. We showed that we have the sheer athleticism and team chemistry to be a major contender this season and we also got to see what we need to work on most in order to be a championship level club.”

The Ducks will finish off their fall season with their annual alumni game on November 14th and the Oregon Fall Classic on the weekend of November 21st.

Written by Jimmy Vaughn

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