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MCLA Check-in: Westminster Griffins

Westminster Midfielder Jake Arthur
Westminster Midfielder Jake Arthur
The Westminster Griffins had a busy fall, playing in the LXM Pro Tour against BYU and joined the other Utah MCLA teams at the Cougar Classic Halloween Tournament. Off the field, the Griffins announced their 2013 recruiting class and announced they will be moving to Division I of the MCLA.
We caught up with Westminster Head Coach Mason Goodhand before he left to the Adrenaline Highrollers recruiting event in California.
Utah Lacrosse News: What are some things you can take away from this years fall ball?
Mason Goodhand:  We like the initial look of the rule changes. The flow of the game is steady and I think there is more action and fast break transition emphasis down the middle of the field.  The shot clock hasn’t been a big factor in fall ball but once W/L’s mean more, I expect coaches will try to be more controlling and thus will “inspire” officials to flex this option.  We don’t know yet which rule changes will be voted in by the coaches council next month but my gut feeling is that we’ll see most adopted.
Also, We have a solid group of players who push each other hard.  Whether in the weight room, at our “off-season” comp training and otherwise, practices have been lively and fun.  We still lack depth but the announcement of our moving to D-I for 2014 and beyond has generated excitement and a lot of interest at recruiting events.  I’m quite optimistic about the upcoming seasons.
ULN: Who are some players that fans should keep their eye on in the spring?
MG: The offense has put a focus on distributing the ball. If we are reaching our full potential it will be because we have five or six different players contributing.  Senior Jake Arthur finished very strong in 2012 earning honors as both, 1st team All-American and Academic All-American. I expect he’ll command a lot of attention from opponents. Juniors Collin Madsen and Cole Christensen will be joined by Sophomore Kyle Postler at attack.  Juniors Matt Hearn and Kevin Gee appear ready to run our offense which will keep the ball moving quickly this spring.
We’re very athletic at the defensive end.  Early this fall we saw some real progress at 1v1 defense, and this really helped our overall effort.  That will be our primary focus in the spring as well.  Juniors Kurt Fuhriman (6′, 240),  Weston Morley (6’1, 190) and Senior Braeden Daly, (5’11,  215) will defend the cage with Junior Chris Burckle holding the starting “Keeper” spot.  We also  have two of the best LSM’s in the MCLA in seniors Pat Hagan and Matt Lambourne.   Keeping them walking the fine line between playing with aggression and intelligence has been a fun challenge. They’ve both responded well and should compliment our focus on physical play on the defensive half of the field.
Though the modified substitution rules have  given us all reason to pause, I believe our “D-Mids” will still see a lot of playing time. Senior Brad Tack and Junior Jeff Peters return to our top spots there.  We are very experienced at defense this year.  I’m very excited to offer them some challenging opponents this spring.
Westminster HalloweenULN: What was your favorite off the field moment this fall with the team?
MG: This group has a lot of fun together. We have our own basketball league all fall and have added flag football and yoga to our training schedule. They had a Halloween game which was a blast and the Alumni Game added a nice opportunity for them to connect with the teams who lead our program into the MCLA.   It’s hard to pick one event that highlighted the fall.
The Griffins have officially released their 2013 schedule. The Griffins have lined up an impressive slate of opponents including both MCLA Champions, Colorado State and St. Thomas within a week of each other.
Image courtesy of Westminster College

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