By Melody Chu & Patricia Sanchez
The sun may have come out on Sunday, but the opponents of the UC Santa Cruz men’s lacrosse team almost didn’t.
Sunday’s match started over half an hour late, as the Dominican University players didn’t arrive until after the scheduled start time. According to referee Gary Alabaster, it was an honest mix-up.
Perhaps the Slugs would have preferred a rain-out, as Dominican topped the Slugs 10-8. The day before, in the fog and the rain, UCSC trounced Willamette 18-4.
“We were riding Saturday’s victory a little too hard,” captain Mike Thompson said. “We came out thinking we were going to stomp these guys.”
Some of the Slugs, including Nick Winegar, expressed frustration about Sunday’s delay.
“I have a physics midterm tomorrow and I’m just wanting to get this game out of the way,” Winegar said before Sunday’s game, although he pointed out that it was important to leave personal problems off the field.
“When you step on the field, you’ve just got to be a regular jive-turkey,” Winegar said.
UCSC was not able to capitalize on their home field advantage as the two squads competed on a muddy Upper East Field. By the time the game was over, players on both teams looked like they had just crawled out of a swamp.
The mud affected more than just the speed of the game. UCSC coach Ari Mello explained that one of his players’ sticks was ruled illegal after the wet conditions somehow expanded the size of the pocket in his stick’s basket. The player was subjected to a three-minute penalty.
But the Slugs acknowledged that they could not just blame the results of the game on the
“The mud affected both teams, but [Dominican] just handled it better,” sophomore player David “Bam Bam” Beugelmans said.
Dominican’s freshman goalkeeper Daniel Doung agreed.
“My feet were stuck in the mud and I couldn’t find the ball,” Doung said. “But it was good because when [UCSC] shot a low shot, it would just stick because the mud was so thick.”
After pointing out that the previous day’s game, midterms and illnesses could have been factors in the loss, Coach Ari Mello stressed that there were several reasons Slugs couldn’t pull out a victory.
“Ultimately what it came down to was people partied last night and didn’t come out here looking to win,” Mello said.
The team has lost some of its senior leadership from last year’s squad, but Mello said he feels confident with his new players.
At halftime of Sunday’s game, Mello pulled his first-year goalie Thomas Meehan.
“The new goalieâ€¦ needs a lot of work still and there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Mello said. “Hopefully he’ll pick it up as the season goes on.”
Although Meehan played well Saturday—he holds the highest save percentage in the Slugs’ division of the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League—just a few additional goals meant the difference between winning and losing on Sunday.
UCSC is still the top-ranked team in their WCLL division, but must step it up if they want to keep their place on top. Starting this week, the team will start having practice up to four hours a day, with two additional hours in the gym on top. The team members are ready for the increase in workload.
“This is not a club bullshit,” Beugelmans said. “We are like a professional team.”