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Men's Preview — Week 6

It was a busy week for men’s lacrosse teams this week, with all the teams in action heading west, some for Coaches vs. Cancer in Vegas and others to California. Westminster experienced their first loss to a team called the Poets, BYU had their first loss vs. No. 1 Chapman, who also beat UVU, but the Cougars and Griffins beat San Diego State, and the Wolverines beat UNLV. Utah State and the Utes didn’t have any games, but are back in action along with every other team in a very crowded week 6 (all times MST):
Schedule
3/8 – Westminster @ Arizona – 5:00pm
The Griffins will travel down to the warm embrace of Tucson to scrimmage MCLA No. 8 Arizona in an early-week match-up. The last time these teams met, in 2014, the Wildcats won a squeaker, 11-10. However, both teams are obviously very different two seasons later. Arizona, at 5-1, relies heavily on the trio of attackmen Jerome Rigor, Colton Lyold, and middie Christian Turri for most of their scoring. This should be a fun match up as the Wilcats have shown they can play at a high level, having beaten No. 21 UVU, No. 10 CSU, and No. 13 Boston College.
2016-Westminster-UVU-153/9 – USU @ The Claremont Colleges – 9:00pm
Wednesday finds the Aggies in SoCal to take on the Claremont Cougars. The Claremont Colleges are 4-2 this year, already improving upon their three-win season a year ago. Both of the Cougar goalies, Jeffrey Allan and Andrew Meehan, are saving 57% of shots on cage this season, which could give the Aggies a chance to score if they can open up their offense and get some shots. USU’s defense will have their work cut out for them as the Cougars assists on roughly 50% of their goals and have four players averaging over four ppg — starting attackmen Alexander Malmlund, Jack Severtson, Kaegan Ingrasci, and midfielder Logan Miller.
3/10 – Westminster v. Arizona State – 4:00pm
This will be yet another scrimmage for the Griffins who have graciously scheduled many of their MCLA-era opponents. The Sun Devils have played a tough schedule and look like a scrappy team that can stay in a game with almost anyone. They beat No. 11 OSU to start the season, and USC, then dropped two close decision to No. 5 Cal Poly and No. 13 Boston College. Look for things to be close and competitive for the first half while State’s starters are fresh, but Westminster likely has the depth to run away with it as it gets later in the game.
3/10 – Utah Valley @ Utah – 7:00pm
This match-up has turned into quite the rivalry over the last few seasons — last year the Wolverines pulled out a close win, 12-10, and two seasons ago Utah stormed back from down two in the final two minutes and won the contest by a single point, 16-15. UVU looks to have the advantage when comparing common opponents, as they beat Montana by a wider margin and beat UNLV, who defeated the Utes. Don’t assume anything in a rivalry game, though, this one will be hard-fought and competitive.
3/11 – Utah State @ UCLA – 9:00pm
UCLA has had a roller-coaster 3-4 season so far, losing to ranked SDSU and Stanford, but showing they have potential and beating upstart Washington. Their strength lies at the faceoff X, where junior FOGO Trey Scott is winning 65% of the time, and in their big three: Carleton Knisley, Drew Goodrich, and Nate Mohler average 7 ppg between the three of them. The Bruins weakness, however, seems to be on the defensive side of the ball, where they give up ten goals per game and save less than 60% of shots. This week for the Aggies looks like it will greatly depend on their offense getting shots on the cage.
3/12 – Utah State @ Loyola Marymount– 2:30pm
This may be the Aggies’ best chance to get a W on their trip west. While Loyola Marymount has played a tough schedule, they haven’t won a single game and haven’t looked very competitive. The Lions have yielded over twenty goals in all of their first five games and have averaged scoring under five goals per contest. USU will be at the tail end of their road trip, however, and will need to make sure they bring fresh legs and don’t overlook the Lions, who will be fresh and hungry for a win.
3/12 – BYU v. Arizona State– 4:00pm
No. 9 Arizona State will bring a .500 record to Provo,  but three of the four teams they’ve played are ranked in the top-15, and they’ve been competitive in every game. The Cougars may have an advantage, however — the Sun Devils will be coming off a scrimmage versus a tough Westminster squad while BYU won’t have played a game in a week’s time. The Sun Devils are a solid team across the board: netminder Russel Bartle is saving 71% of shots between the pipes, FOS Zac Mathien is pulling 73% of faceoffs in ASU’s favor, four offensive players average more than a point a game (attackman Rhett Rodgers averages 3), and the Sun Devil D is only giving up seven goals per game. The Cougars will be favored, but this one will be a chess match — good lacrosse will be played in Provo on Saturday.
3/12 – Utah v. Idaho– 4:00pm
Idaho and Utah have had similarly rough schedules to start their seasons. Idaho has been beaten by two ranked teams, as well as to Gonzaga, with a lone win coming against a depleted Washington State Squad. The Utes have lost to two ranked teams, as well as to UNLV, with wins over USC and Montana. Only five Vandals have gotten points this season, but much of their offense runs through freshman attack Grant Hill (not the former Piston, we checked) who averages a stellar 5 ppg. Senior AJ Gravel is just behind Hill with 4 ppg, and middies Drew Welch and Charlie Dolar average over 3 ppg. The Vandals’ woes appear mostly on the defensive side of the ball where they’re saving less than 60% of shots on goal and giving up 12 goals a game, on average. If the Ute defense can play tough and their offense can find its rhythm, Utah should roll.

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