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).
Sat 02/15 UC San Diego Tritons vs. Grossmont College Men’s Club Lacrosse
The UC San Diego Tritons were hot, coming out 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.
Sat 02/11 UC San Diego Tritons vs. Cal State Channel Islands Dolphins Non-Conference
Sun 02/12 UC San Diego Tritons vs. Marymount California University Mariners Non-Conference
Good teams prepare within the pre-season; great teams build within the pre-season. The UC San Diego Tritons is a great team. The pre-season lasting five weeks, has proven to be the most grueling part of the year thus far. All of our efforts were put to the test in a double header season opener against the Dolphins of CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) and the Mariners at Marymount California University. These games not only tested our practice and conditioning, but also the team’s ability to dictate the tempo of the game through an adept execution of triton lacrosse. The offense we had built throughout the fall and winter, the defensive package developed over the pre-season, and lastly the transition game we had honed over the last few weeks of January is the epitome of Triton lacrosse. We were not only playing our opponents but also ourselves.
The weekend began early on Saturday the 11th with a bus ride at 8:30 am from the UC San Diego Baseball Parking Lots and headed up to CSUCI in Camarillo for our game at 2 pm. Our Coach strategically planned this trip with enough time for us to shake off our “bus legs”, get focused, and hold a long warm-up before the game. By game time the team was set in a razor-focus, ready and willing to dominate our opponent. We did just that, with a decisive victory over the Dolphins 17-2, the game was not so easily won.
Throughout the first half, which ended 8-2, the team was plagued by first game jitters and indecisiveness throughout all positions on the field. We wasted shots, had a handful of unforced errors, and our transition game (defensively and offensively) was poorly executed. At halftime our Head Coach (Albert “the man” Man) brought us to the corner to tell us that our trajectory for this incumbent season was dependent upon our resolve and ability to play our game to our level (not to the level of our opponents). This statement rode deep within our team and sparked a flame within. The second half of that game was not only a blow out of 9-0, but also a calm and collected. No matter where the ball was our team played smarter, harder, and with better execution than our opponents.
The game ended with three hat-tricks by midfielders Anthony Vito Digiorgio (4 goals, 3 assists) and Jacob “Gramps” Cuffe (3 goals), in addition to attackman Joseph “praise be to joe” Sawires (5 goals, 2 assists). Additional goals scorers include Evan “Coachiepoo” Eichenberg (2 goals), Aditya “D2” Nag (1 goal), Aidin “The Malay Hurricane” Massoumi (2 goals).
Do not let the goals scored affect your view of the dynamic within our team, for this game was won on the backs of our studded defense and face-off specialist Taylor “the surgeon” Gulrajani.
We ate, we studied, we slept, and prepared for the most important game of the year; the next one.
The team was packed and ready to ride out to San Pedro Olguin High school in Los Angeles to play a very peculiar opponent, Marymount California University. This game and opponent would be nothing like the Dolphins of CSUCI, they were a new team with a different dynamic. Our Captain Jacob “Gramps” Cuffe conveyed this to the team before the game commenced, “for all we know this is an all-star team and we will play them as such, no half-speed, focus and execute our brand of lacrosse.”
This statement became a staple of the team from the opening whistle and held throughout the game. Lest than 30 seconds into the game we had our first goal by midfielder Aditya “D2” Nag, who drove the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal off of a well-timed cut (assisted by attackman Evan “Mr. Avocados” Jenkin). This first goal led the Triton’s offensive dominance over the next four quarters like domino effect, the Tritons were on a war path to victory. After the final whistle the score read Tritons 16 – Mariners 0, bringing the Tritons their second win and first shutout win of the season.
The tritons proved that our offense could dictate the tempo of any game from the first whistle, our defense could stay strong and communicate to overcome any opposition, and that our team as a whole could stay true to our brand of lacrosse. The most notable victories on the field over this trying weekend came from both sides of play; offensively, Anthony Vito Digiorgio led the team with 14 points (9 goals, and 5 assists). While defensively our goalies Tyler “Mr. Clutch” Lestak and Cam “The Wall” Bowlby let in 2 goals over two games with help from a studded defensive unit. However, the greatest victory goes to our all-star face-off specialist Taylor “the surgeon” Gulrajani. “The Surgeon” won all but one of his draws at the face-off X (winning 29-1) and earned the accolade of “Underarmour Commanding Performance” from our league the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association.
Although personal accolades are nice, they give no value to the players. The only thing we as a team strive to achieve is victory through our brand of lacrosse, Triton Lacrosse.
“The only history worth a damn is the history we make today”
The day was Sunday, November 13th, and like any other it was a day of rebirth. Over the last school year UC San Diego Lacrosse has been hit with many setbacks. The program needed a change, needed to rebuild. Our late captain (Patrick “The Dragon Rick” Zhang) spearheaded an overhaul of the program’s culture, which lead the team down an unbelievably tough road. We, the UC San Diego Lacrosse team, sacrificed a winning season for a stronger program. Now at the end of Fall ball 2016 the fruits of our labor would be tested.
We had recruited. We had instilled discipline. We had put in the work. We were ready to play.
The day was Sunday, game day. UC San Diego was invited to a small tournament at San Diego State University; other attendees included Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) members like the University of San Diego and non-league members like Grossmont Community College. By time the team arrived the games were already underway. We would soon play a tenacious Grossmont squad and then SDSU at sunset.
Grossmont was invited to this tournament (note they are not in the MCLA) due to their natural talent and ability to play the game with no strings attached. After beating University of San Diego, a team that went to last year’s conference semifinals, Grossmont was primed for our rematch. It should be noted that at this time last year UC San Diego was given a devastating lost to Grossmont, closing out a quite disappointing fall ball season.
Suited up and ready to go, the Tritons hit the field. The ball was set and Evan “Coachiepoo” Eichenberg was in hyper focus at the faceoff X. The whistle blew and we were off. Coachiepoo was the spark that lead the team forward, winning over 80 percent of his draws. With the ball in hand our new offense, led by captains David “Young Pup” Mastro and Jacob “Gramps” Cuffe, would flow to the tune of a classical orchestra. The beauty of a constantly flowing offense is that your opponent will never know where the shot will come from. It cripples the mind while increasing fatigue. For almost 40 minutes the back of the net danced with assisted goals from Young Pup, Gramps, Coachiepoo, Aditia “D2” Nag, Aidin “The Malay Hurricane” Massoumi, and Michael “The Bowling Ball” Paxton.
Although we played well our offense was not perfect. Thankfully our young and aggressive defense was there to back us up, spearheaded by the only defensive returner Matthew “Long Matt the Elder One” Robinson. Yet when all else failed we have a brick wall in the net (Cameron “Cam” Bowlby), who’s save percentage was well over 70 percent.
We won 8-4. We proved to our conference (Southern Lacrosse Conference) that UC San Diego is a contender. With one team down we looked onward to a formidable foe. The MCLA division 2 Tritons vs the division 1 Aztecs (i.e. David v. Goliath). Any average scout would tell you that this game would be a landslide, with the Aztecs obliterating UC San Diego by at least ten goals or more. We knew this, but it did not deter us. We came here, to this tournament, to win. We came here to prove that we are not only contenders, but also threats to any team out there.
We were not supposed to win any of the face offs. (won 1/3)
We were not supposed to clear the ball from defense to offense. (70% clear rate)
We were not supposed to score more than 3 goals. (5, 3 assisted)
But we did, and we did so as a team.
Sunday ended with two wins for UC San Diego. The first was redemption, through our win over our non-league rivals the Grossmont College Griffins. The second was respect, through a 9-5 loss to a D1 program consistently seeded in the top 25 nationwide.
Come spring the scouting reports will be lit up with our players. Come spring the Tritons will be a threat to any given program’s success. So come on spring, UC San Diego Lacrosse is ready.
LAX Until the Cows Come Home
The UC San Diego Tritons journeyed to a faraway land, filled with a mysterious substance that fell from the sky on March 5th. The natives in this place called “NorCal” called it “Rain”, a rumored essence that many wish would be blessed upon the Golden State. It seems the many prayers and dances had been answered as the Tritons faced the UCD Aggies. It was beneath the UC Davis water tower and the torrent that the Tritons took their stand. As a former D1 team the previous year, the Aggies were a strong team on their home field. With David “Puppy Style” Mastro scoring the only goal for the Tritons, the Tritons lost one to eight. The Tritons left Davis, as even the clouds seemed to weep harder in farewell.
Lacrosse: Light of my Life, Fire of my Loins
The UC San Diego Tritons faced the CSU Long Beach 49’s in a neck to neck game on February 27th. In this low scoring game, it was a battle of the defenses. The score was five to four at the end of the half in favor of the Tritons. Long Beach came back strong at the end of the half scoring three unanswered goals. The Tritons pushed on scoring two more goals in the end against Long Beach’s one. The game ended with Tritons 6, Long Beach 8. Senior Captain Ryan de Leon led the Tritons on both the faceoff and our defensive field. Anthony ‘Goodfella’ Digiorgio played a great game scoring two goals for the Tritons. Using this is loss as fuel, the Tritons prepare for their next game against the number one team in the country, Concordia.
‘Tis Better to Have Laxed and Lost, Than Never to Have Laxed at All
It was beautiful day in Fullerton, known for their plentiful groves of Valencia oranges and industrious petroleum extraction. Despite being in such a fruitful environment, the normally resilient Tritons failed to thrive as the Valencia oranges do. The Fullerton Titans salted the earth from which the Tritons attempted plant the seeds of victory. With a loss of 3-13, the Tritons fought bravely against the number 12th team in the nation as their first opponent. Our stunning and brave defense held off the Titans under the leadership of goalie Tyler “Stonewall” Lestak. Midfielders David “Miracle on Grass” Mastro and Jack Carpenter from parts unknown finished strong for the Tritons by putting in the three goals. Tritons learned their lessons and prepare to face CSU Long Beach Saturday, February 27th at 2:00 in their first home game.
The Journey of a Thousand Goals Begins with a Single Pass
As day broke and the skies cleared above San Francisco on March 6th, the Tritons invoked the full power of their namesake, and brought the might of the ocean crashing down upon the unsuspecting Dons of USF. The Dons quaked with fear as Ryan DeLeon continued to beat their face-off man for sixty minutes. The Triton offense was relentless, unrepentant as it placed shot after shot past the Don goalkeeper, like waves crashing ceaselessly against a battered shipwreck. Hat tricks were scored by Peter Bennington, David Mastro, and Rick ‘My Names not Rick’ Zhang. Scoring their first collegiate lacrosse goals were Jake ’Swiggity Swooty’ Cuffe and Alasdair ‘The Shepherd’ Morton. Not to be outdone, the Triton defensive squad played a tremendous game. Buttressed on all sides by long and short stick defenders alike, the defensive citadel proved impenetrable to the Don offense. And Tyler Lestak was an unbreakable wall in goal, with his ball stopping ability being surpassed only by his raw animal magnetism. As the Tritons return to San Diego as conquering heroes, the will seek to carry this momentum forward and get their season back on track.
Flow is to be Lived, Not Controlled; and Lacrosse Won by Continuing to Play in Face of Certain Defeat
As the Concordia Eagles soared down the illustrious I-5 freeway, the Tritons fearlessly prepared to do battle with proverbial goliaths of the Division II MCLA lacrosse world, on March 2nd. The Tritons fought valiantly, but their slingshots were no match for the onslaught of the shots that were taken. The Eagles came out fast, winning face-offs early and scoring on quick transition plays. Sophomore goalie sensation Tyler Lestak played well, but the sheer quantity of shots by Concordia proved too much to handle. The Triton offense struggled to gather momentum, but did show brief glimmers of potency. Attackmen David Mastro and Evan Jenkin had two goals and an assist apiece. The remaining goals were scored by midfielders Anthony DiGiorgio Spimoni ‘Mama Mia’ Vito and Jack Carpenter. Although UC San Diego would like to have won this important divisional matchup, they eagerly await the prospect of facing the Eagles once more in the playoffs.
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