The first game of the year was not what coach Ryland Huyghue wanted for the Anteaters of UC Irvine. They went up against St Marys Gaels on Thursday night, in what ended up being a one sided game.I cruised down to Irvine to check out the lax action from UCI. Finally, something having to do with lacrosse was starting to happen down here. For awhile it was kind of a dry spell. Anyway I got to the game late, work killed my hopes of getting there on time. Irony of course mandated that I find a parking spot as far away from the field as possible, and the game was played on the farthest field from the parking lot.
The evening was crisp and there were a handful of fans out supporting the teams. St Mary’s was leading by 10 at 13 to 3. I didn’t get to see the whole progression of the game but it was clear that towards the end UCI was frustrated with the direction the game was going. St Mary’s racked up three more goals and UCI answered with one for a final tally of 16-4. You can check the boxes at MCLA for a recap.I spoke with St Mary’s head coach Colin Knightly, and got his feeling about the game. He said they were settling in really well after two games even though they were coming off an upsetting OT loss to Biola University(8-7).
“The team is anchored by our defense, especially by our captian Henry Graham. He’s the loudest D-pole out there. We are returning over 20 guys this year and we have some great contribution from our younger players. Number 11 Matthew Jaber is really doing well at face off as a freshman.”
I also spoke with Henry Graham, Senior D-pole from Bozeman, Montana. Here’s a kid with country boy charm and built like a tank leading the defense for St Mary’s. He’s only been playing for three years! He came to St Mary’s to play soccer turns out that wasn’t working so he picked up a D-pole (smart move.)
“We really wanted to play tonight especially after the devastating loss to Biola last night. We wanted to run the score up so we could get a lot of our younger guys in for some experience. ”
I turned some attention over to UCI head coach Ryland Huyghue, formerly at Cal State Fullerton where the Titans took the SLC DII championship.
Huyghue said of the game,
“I have a system and the guys need to implement the system”
Huyghue went on to explain that they run a motion offense and once the team gets used to running it he thinks it’ll be hard for any defense to keep up with the Titans. UCI has a long road ahead but Coach Huyghue is confident. After all he took Fullerton all the way to the SLC DII title game and came out on top. Another interesting note from our talk was that Coach Huyghue pointed out is he’s the first African American to win a collegiate lacrosse title. Not too shabby.
Keep an eye on St. Mary’s they have a track record and could be a contender for the WCLL title. UCI may be there in a year or two if the motion offense gets moving.
No games for me Friday driving out to Vegas for family extravaganza. Hopefully back in town Saturday for the Chapman San Diego game, if the weather holds.
Other Quick SoCal Recaps:
- Cal State Fullerton lost to UCLA 9-14 on the 4th.
- For some reason UNLV/UCLA stats haven’t been posted yet for the game on the 5th.
Food For Thought:
Henry Graham of St Mary’s has only been playing three years and is already a captain for the Gaels. Is defense easier than offense? Whaddya think? Talk it out in the comments.
About the author: Middie D played lacrosse at BYU under the tutelage of former Head Coach Jason Lamb and Current Head Coach Matt Schneck. He now lives in God’s paradise of Southern California, more specifically Orange County. His favorite color is shocking pink, favorite food is candy corns, and likes watching telenovelas.
Questions? Want to contribute to the Lax All Stars Network? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org