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Aggies Fall to LMU 14-8

Utah State AggiesThe warm weather and sunny skies of Southern California could not help the Aggies in this Monday showdown that had them beat by the score of 14-8 behind a strong first half by the Lions of Loyola-Marymount.
The Lions knew what to do and how to do it, starting the game with a 6-1 first quarter that left the Aggies chasing the lead the entire game.
“We felt like we knew the team and the players, which actually might have been a bad thing,” Utah State Head Coach Jon Atwood said. “We built this game up and whether it was the jitters or something else, we came out not playing well.”
The Lions played very tight defense, as well. After winning one of their very few first half face-offs, the Aggies wanted to set up on offense. Freshman Jess Roberts drove right up the field until he was met by a wall of Lions, forcing him back outside, which eventually led to him getting swarmed, causing a turnover in the second quarter. Plays like that plagued the Aggies for not only the first quarter, but most of the first half.
The Aggies came out of the half not only behind in points, but also in the turnover ratio, and face-offs.
“The biggest change for us in the second was winning face-offs. Jared Day deserves a lot of praise for how he performed in the second half winning the face-offs,” said Atwood.
Whatever was said by Coach Jon Atwood or changed after that first quarter, this Aggie team came out and played like we’ve seen them many times before this season: Strong and determined. This game was a prime example of how this is a young, inexperienced team that is full of potential.
“Coach reminded us of our potential after that first quarter,” Junior Goalie Blake Bowen said. “We didn’t come out well [In the first], and after hearing that, it reminded us of what this team can really do.”
Without this game’s first quarter, the Aggies would have lost 8-7. While still a loss, let’s take this into perspective: This Loyola-Marymount team is the same team that lost to Colorado 8-6, the same Colorado that beat Utah State 19-2. They also lost to a Brigham Young team 9-2, the same team that slaughtered the Aggies just last week 27-1.
The improvement this team has gone through is more and more apparent week by week. With the losses coming in a manner that is kept respectable, it is only a matter of time before this Aggie team
starts putting together some solid wins.
This LMU team was faster, more experienced, and didn’t beat the Aggies by much after that first half.
“We played a good game after the first quarter,” Junior Attackmen Kevin Mann said. “We knew this was a good team, we also knew nothing would come easy coming out here.”
Loyola plays fast, that is something everyone who enjoyed this rooftop game in Los Angeles saw. From blazing through the Utah State defense on the way to one of their 14 goals, to one of the Aggie Middies getting chased around the field until the Lions came out with one of their many turnovers, the Lions gave the Aggies a little more hustle then the Aggies could muster back out.
With that being said, what did the Aggies take out of yet another loss?
“We gained after confidence. We played well against a very good team, and we just happened to come out a little short this time,” Coach Atwood said.
Offensively, the third quarter showed some great signs from the offense. With Freshman Blade Garlow and Junior Kevin Mann leading the offense, this Utah State offense really gave the Lions something to worry about. The guys went out there, and played more-so to Loyola-Marymount’s weaknesses then to their strengths. With a lot of passing up top, they were able to set up their playmakers right next to the net, leaving their guys to take on the goalie, one on one. That really spoke to the determination of this team; they were not having success driving right down the middle, so they knew they had to work behind the goal, and pass the ball around.
They did just that and brought the game back from 6-1 at the end of the first, to 10-5 at the end of the third.
Going into the fourth, the Aggies had to keep the pressure on full throttle and make sure to keep winning the turnover battle. While the fourth was a solid quarter, the Aggies allowed a few more goals
on plays that really can just be credited to a very good Marymount team. With guys as fast as they Lions had up front, it gave them the opportunity to go from standing still, to break away fast in the blink of an eye, catching the Aggies off-guard. The Lions found holes, and kept their fast paced attack up, which ended up being the deciding factor in this 14-8 matchup.
The Aggies need to look at this game as a positive, more-so then a negative. While they did have a very bad first quarter, they came back once again like they have done so many times this season and battled to come out of this game really as winners in their own right. They traveled 800 miles to play a very, very solid Loyola-Marymount team who really came into this game as favorites, and probably thought they would win more than what the final really was. The Aggies have shown they are not a team to be taken lightly, because if there is one thing they have learned this season, it is to remember the positive, learn from the mistakes, and practice till it is product.
The Aggies will have Tuesday off and travel 120 miles south to San Diego to face San Diego State on Wednesday.

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