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Men's Preview — Week 5

Things didn’t go nearly as well for in-state teams in week 4 as they did the previous week: Utah State went to Boise and played competitively, but lost to both the Broncos and Washington; The Utes went to Vegas in hopes of an upset win, but ran out of gas against a good UNLV squad; BYU had a bye week and moved up a spot to No. 4 in the latest MCLA poll; and the lone victory for an in-state team came against another in-state team as Westminster defeated Utah Valley in a scrimmage, and despite some teams in front of them taking losses, and GCU proving they’re the real deal, the Wolverines idled at No. 21 for a second week. Things don’t get much easier for our teams going into week 5:
3/4 – UVU @ UNLV – 6:00pm
If you’re in Vegas this weekend, skip the casinos and go to this game: UNLV has proven that they can play with anyone — beating No. 15 SDSU, playing a close game with BYU, running Utah ragged — and they’re receiving votes in the top-25 poll. For UVU to win, they’ll want to shut down junior middie Blake Day, who has more than twice as many goals as anyone else on the team, and they’ll want to get shots on cage as Rebel sophomore keeper Clan O’Dell is saving just 46% of the shots that come his way. This should be an entertaining game, as both teams play hungry and physical, and a much improved UVU squad will be looking to avenge a 15-7 loss last season.
DSC_00373/4 – BYU v. Chapman – 7:00pm
This should be another great game this weekend in Vegas (Henderson, technically). The Cougars’ games against ranked opponents have all been close, but No. 1 Chapman hasn’t really been tested this year, playing only one ranked opponent in No. 20 Sonoma State. The Panthers are solid across the board: assisting on roughly half their goals (scored by a number of different players), junior FOS Simon Jenkin is winning 62% of the draws at the faceoff X, and senior net-minder Gus Gradinger is saving 68% of shots on cage.
3/5 – BYU v. San Diego State – 5:00pm
Not much rest for the Cougars as they’ll turn around and play No. 15 SDSU on Saturday. The Aztecs will bring a 5-1 record to the contest, their lone loss coming to UNLV by one (whom BYU beat by five). SDSU has poured on the goals in the early season, looking to the dangerous attack duo of Kevin Leis and Adrian Jeffries who each average over 3 points per game. The Aztec defense also appears stout, giving up less than five goals a game against their unranked opponents so far this season. This should be a good test for the Cougars to see if they can keep their play at a consistently high level throughout the season.
3/5 – UVU v. Chapman – 5:00pm
Utah Valley will also have a quick turnaround in Vegas, taking on No. 1 Chapman. The Wolverines will look to counter Chapman’s balanced game with some balance of their own: freshman attackman Justin Haws is having a breakout season, leading the team in goals and averaging over 3 ppg on the season, but the Green & Gold have 5 different players averaging double-digit points per game and are assisting on roughly half of their goals, as well. If UVU can find the same fireworks they had against GCU, this should be a great second-day game.
3/5 – Westminster @ Whittier – 5:00pm
After defeating then-ranked No. 15 CMU, the Griffins have been receiving votes in the NCAA D-II top-20 poll. Westminster can do a lot to help their cause with a win this week against the Whittier Poets. The Griffins will be Whittier’s first real game this season, as the Poets have played only a scrimmage and an exhibition game against MCLA opponents ASU and Concordia (winning both). In the exhibition against Concordia, the Poets looked like an offensive powerhouse — attackman Ian Leek had five goals on the game and midfielders Jonathan Kassity and Matt Symes netted 4 and 3, respectively. Whittier was .500 against NCAA opponents last season, going 6-6 overall and 3-2 at home.
3/6 – Westminster @ SDSU – 3:30pm
Technically a scrimmage, this should be a fun game to see. Westminster will be coming off an NCAA match-up the day before and SDSU will be coming off their game against BYU. As it is the second game for both teams on the weekend, we’ll find out how deep their benches are.

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