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BYU Survives Cold Start, Coasts To Victory

The BYU Men’s Lacrosse team played outside for the first time on Saturday, taking on the UNLV Rebels on North University Field in Provo, and the team literally took some time to warm up. The Rebels, who were coming off an upset win over No. 9 SDSU, were able to build a quick lead, capitalizing on early Cougar mistakes and netting five goals in just a few short minutes. But as BYU continued to play, the feeling in their fingers and toes returned and the Cougars started to play like a top-10 team. The Cougs staged a quick comeback behind 4 goals from freshman attackman Chris Severson, leading 7-5 at halftime, and continued to build that into a five-goal lead early in the third that they were able to ride out through the end of the contest, winning 14-9.
“We have not been outside since October,” reflected BYU head coach Matt Schneck, “I think it had a little bit of an impact on the guys. I think they just had to get their jitters out a little bit, and we’re definitely going to be spending more time outside next week as we go prepare to play Boise State and Simon Fraser.”
DSC_5154After taking the lead, the Cougars were able to build momentum behind a strong defense. After scoring their fifth
goal midway through the first quarter, the Rebels weren’t able to find the back of the net again until a man-up opportunity with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, thanks to a tough Cougar ride, takeaway checks, and a powerful showing in the cage from senior Cougar keeper Matt Brandenburg.
BYU was also able to dominate time of possession through a good performance at the faceoff X from freshman faceoff specialist Jack Vassau and sophomore wing midfielder Chase Paulsen snapping up ground balls. “Jack Vassau did a fantastic job — he was continually giving us an advantage by giving us additional possessions. Chase Paulsen did a great job on the wing play and helping us get those extra possessions.”
While the entire game didn’t go exactly as the Cougs might have planned, they’re looking at it as a learning experience: “I’m excited to watch the film, because I know there are some areas we need to focus on and some things we need to do a little differently,” said Coach Schneck, “I feel like we’re further along than where we were a year ago at the same time, but we still need some fine tuning.”DSC_5291
BYU will need to fine tune their offense to start quicker against some of their tough upcoming opponents; they’ll be facing a Boise State team that has improved significantly over the last several seasons and a dangerous Canadian powerhouse team in Simon Fraser who’s ranked 20th in the country.
The Cougars (2-0, 1-0) will travel to Boise next Friday, February 19 and play against BSU at 3:00 pm and Simon Fraser on Saturday, February 20 at 2:00 pm MST.

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