The UC San Diego Tritons (Tritons) were hot, coming off of a blowout opening weekend against Cal State Channel Islands Dolphins and the Marymount California University Mariners. However, the games over this past weekend were not apt representations of the level of play within our league. In two weeks’ time the Tritons would face Cal State Long Beach (Beach), the powerhouse that shook the Southern Lacrosse Conference South Division. Within one season this short staffed and short manned team flipped their record to 8-4, and pushed the Tritons out of the post-season. To prepare for Beach’s fast paced and sporadic level of play, UC San Diego Head Coach Al Man set up a rematch between the Tritons and the Grossmont College Men’s Club Lacrosse Griffins (Griffins). These two teams (Tritons and Griffins) played twice throughout the fall; the Tritons won 8-5 in October of 2016, and the Griffins won 9-4 in December of 2016. With a record of 1-1 these two teams were itching to settle the score.
The game was held on Wednesday the 21st at 8:15 pm on Muir Field at UC San Diego. The Tritons had a bitter taste in their mouths from the last game, but this distaste for Griffins lacrosse did not deter their focus. The Tritons needed to prove that they could continue to dictate the tempo of the game against a more athletic team, that they could stay true to the Triton brand of lacrosse against a much more skilled opponent, and that the Tritons could adapt to overcome a new styles of lacrosse within any given game. This would be the Triton’s first real test of the season.
The Grossmont Griffins are a tenacious team, they rely on their natural skill and ability to freelance together on the field. It makes the Griffins a team that you cannot prepare for, which is the worst type of opponent. To combat this fact, the Tritons heightened their communication and awareness throughout every place on the field. As a result, the game quickly became a hard fought battle of skill and athleticism. Structure (and the commitment to said structure) was the deciding factor that handed the Tritons their 6-3 win over the Griffins. The structure within the settled offence/defense and clear gave the Tritons a decisive edge on the Griffins.
Offensively the Triton’s attack unit flourished with goals by Aidin “The Malay Hurricane” Massoumi (2 goals 2 assists), Joseph “the rev” Sawires (2 goals) (formerly known as “praise be to joe”), and Michael “Paxman” Paxton (1 goal, 1 assist). The only other goal was scored by midfield captain Jacob “Gramps” Cuffe off of a perfectly executed hockey assist by fellow midfielders Evan Eichenberg and Anthony Vito Digiorgio. The defense led a number of crucial stops and eliminated the Griffins attack; special shout-outs go to the defensive midfield unit (Chandler Blaid “The Day Walker” Burgess and Alec “Mr. Penalty” Karousatos).