A tough end to a close game, Arizona lacrosse drops its season opener
Arizona lacrosse fell to Dominican University on Saturday after holding an early lead before letting it slip away later in the game. The Wildcats took an early 4-3 lead at the end of the first quarter in Saturday’s game against Dominican University. The Penguins showed signs of life once again by tying the game at four to start the second quarter.
Arizona freshman midfielder Joe Brock answered with 10:59 remaining to give the 'Cats their fifth goal of the game and regain the lead. The Wildcats maintained this momentum into the end of the half, where they led 7-4.
Arizona started the second half with a goal from attacker Luke Liljenstolpe to put them ahead 8-4. Arizona lacrosse fans will remember Liljenstolpe being a difference-maker last season on offense. Then, after No. 1 Peyton Boyd left the game with a small injury, No. 11 Dan Hittle gave the Wildcats their ninth goal of the game with 13 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
After Dominican answered with a late goal of their own, Arizona offensive captain No. 9 Mason DePaola, a standout freshman star last season, got his first goal of the game to bring the Wildcats goal count into double-digit territory at 10.
After the game, Mason commented on what it felt like to get a difference-maker goal later in the game.
“Just excitement," DePaola said. "My goal was a little late in the game. It was a big moment to be able to get back in the game. Give us some momentum back."
Arizona’s dominance didn’t last for long before Dominican scored five unanswered goals to take the lead from the 'Cats and move the score to 11-10.
Dominican’s lead was only temporarily interrupted by the Wildcats scoring a single goal in the fourth quarter. The Penguins then continued to score five unanswered goals before Arizona freshman attacker Max Bergamo put in his first goal of the game with five minutes remaining in regulation.
Bergamo was followed by teammate junior defender No. 33 James Offerman, scoring his first goal of the game with 4:15 remaining.
At the tail end of regulation with 2:44 remaining, Boyd, freshly returned from injury, put in the Wildcats' 15th goal. Unfortunately, Dominican maintained their two-goal lead into the end of regulation.
Afterwards, DePaola and his fellow team captain Exton Bassett commented on the team’s effort against the Penguins.
“Our defense was communicating, but when they stopped it got a little rough," DePaola added. "When we are up by six, we just got to continue and put the ball into the back of the net, make sure we don’t let off the gas at all and really hammer it in. We just got to focus on learning our stuff, communicating and trusting one another, backing one another up on and off the field.”
Bassett also commented on the team's performance.
“We gotta strike the ground balls honestly," Bassett said. "We lost focus on those ground balls and that really killed us. It’s mostly just maintaining our energy on the field and keeping it throughout the entire game is really what it comes down to.”
Head coach for Arizona lacrosse Matt Blamey followed his team captains by remarking on how his team needs to get better at defense, because Dominican came out faster and therefore was the better team.
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