Greenville, South Carolina
Cal Poly played one of their best games of the season defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 10 - 4 on Thursday afternoon in the MCLA semi-finals. The #1 seeded Mustangs will now face the #2 Colorado State Rams in the MCLA championship game Saturday night at 9 pm EST. The game will be broadcast live nationally on Fox College Sports.
WATCH CAL POLY LACROSSE TONIGHT ON FOX COLLEGE SPORTS AT 6 PM PST!!
FOUR IN A ROW!!!!
Cal Poly defeats Cal to win their fourth consecutive WCLL title and earns the #1 seed for the MCLA National Tournament!
2012 WCLL Champions - FOUR IN A ROW!!!
The Cal Poly Mustangs finished off their best regular season in program history last Saturday with a 17-10 victory over rival Chico State. The Mustangs emerged victorious in the annual “Battle for the Boot” to end the regular season undefeated (6 – 0) in WCLL divisional play.
The Mustangs went 16 – 1 during the regular season and earned victories over the defending National Champion BYU Cougars and an overtime victory against the Colorado State Rams on the road in Fort Collins. Cal Poly also defeated Chapman for the first time since 2007 and knocked off the Oregon Ducks, who ended the Mustangs season at the national tournament in Denver in 2011.
Cal Poly reached another milestone in 2012 earning their first ever #1 national ranking, as they grabbed the top spot in the March 27th Nike/Inside Lacrosse MCLA Coaches Poll. The Mustangs’ have held onto the rank ever since, and head into the playoffs ranked #1 for six straight weeks, including five weeks as the unanimous number one pick.
The Mustangs head into the WCLL Championship weekend looking for their fourth straight league title. They hope to come away with the league trophy and head into the National Championship tournament in Greenville, South Carolina as the top seed.
Mustangs storm the field to celebrate last month's overtime victory over Chapman
April 11, 2012 -
For the second week in a row, the Cal Poly Mustangs earned every 1st place vote in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse MCLA Coaches poll to remain the unanimous #1 team in the nation. The Mustangs have been ranked #1 for three consecutive weeks and look to hold onto the top spot as they host divisional rival Santa Clara on Saturday.
by Allie Bakalar
For the first time in its history, the Cal Poly Men’s Lacrosse team was voted into the #1 spot in the nation via the Inside Lacrosse MCLA Coaches’ Poll on March 27th. The ranking came after the Mustangs’ trip to Colorado where they upset Colorado State (undefeated and #1 at the time) in a thrilling overtime game and then finished with a lopsided victory over SMU.
“It’s a great feeling to know that we are the best team in the nation. I am pretty excited, but also nervous,” said junior defensive midfielder Jonathan Garcia. “Now that we are ranked #1, everyone is looking to defeat us, so every game is always a bit nerve-racking.”
Despite having that #1 target painted on their backs, Coach Marc Lea said the team has been playing extremely well in all facets of the game.
“Although it's our offense that gets of lot of the accolades, at this point in the season, I think our defense has actually been a bit stronger,” said Lea. “Our depth at defense is tremendous, and they really seem to be working well together right now.”
Lea said he believes that this year’s team has acted upon a couple of key realizations, leading to the #1 ranking.
“We've really done a great job of staying focused for the entire game,” said Lea. “We've also realized that we have a lot of different players that can step up when the moment arises. We have a number of All-America caliber players, but we don't have to rely on them to always make the big play.”
Similarly, senior midfielder Peter Chiang considers this year’s success a cohesive combination of experienced and young players. Chiang said he feels lucky that this particular group of guys ended up attending Cal Poly at the same time.
“We have a talented senior class, but also have some younger guys that have stepped up in big ways,” said Chiang. “Tim Albo anchors the 2nd line midfield and is an overall workhorse, Seb Zorn starts on defense, Mike Paul balances out the 1st line midfield, and we have two great long stick midfielders in Alex Reed and Chris Nespor. Those guys have stepped in, filled gaps and have rounded out the team.”
“In addition, Jeff Carter has become one of the best defensive midfielders in the league,” said Chiang. “Also, Brett Vergara took last year off from lacrosse, but has come back to play better than ever, consistently putting up points and is one of the most versatile players.”
Amidst the excitement thus far, the Mustangs realize that their work this season is not yet done.
“We can't get ahead of ourselves and start thinking about Greenville, but we need to prepare with the understanding that the National Championship is our ultimate goal,” said Lea. “In the past few seasons, we've peaked in March or April. This year we need to keep getting better, and make sure we are peaking in mid-May.”
Peter Chiang - just after scoring the winning goal in OT (so fast even the camera can't capture him)
March 23, 2012 (Fort Collins, CO) – For the second time this season, Cal Poly knocked off the top ranked team in the MCLA, as the Mustangs upset Colorado State on their home field in overtime. Senior midfielder Peter Chiang scored the Mustangs’ final two goals of the game, including the game winner on a drive straight down the middle with time winding down in the first overtime period.
The Mustangs put together one of their grittiest performances in program history to earn the victory, and received contributions from throughout the roster to come away with the improbable upset.
Things looked bleak for the Mustangs, as they struggled in the early going against a Rams’ squad that hadn’t lost at home in nearly two years. With the offense out of sync throughout the 1st quarter, the defense was forced to hold their ground against a barrage of shots from the high powered Rams’ offense.
Down 4-1 midway through the 2nd quarter, senior Mustang attackman Scott Heberer, recently named the Nike MCLA Player of the Month, suffered an injury that would keep him out for the remainder of the game. The first half ended as poorly as it started for Cal Poly, as the Mustangs’ defense tallied the Rams’ 5th goal on a botched pass back to goalkeeper Nick Czapla.
Facing a 5-1 deficit against a powerful CSU squad, a hostile crowd, and without the services of one of their best players, the Mustangs managed to regroup at the half and climb their way back into the game.
Attackman Olivier Schmied notched an unassisted goal and midfielder Brett Vergara ripped an outside bounce shot to give the Mustangs some momentum early in the 3rd quarter. Brian Kovary found linemate Michael Paul open on the high crease, and Paul buried his first collegiate goal to draw Cal Poly within one. Attackman Matt Graupmann scored an EMO goal late in the 3rd quarter to tie the game at 5, and the game really started to heat up.
Colorado State scored two goals in a span of eight seconds to retake the lead at 7-5 with ten minutes to go in the game. After climbing back into the game on four straight goals in the 3rd, the Mustangs would have to comeback yet again. And comeback they did: Schmied and Kovary each scored their second goals of the game to knot the game at 7.
With four minutes left in the contest, Chiang worked his way to the middle of the field and fired a bounce shot over the shoulder of Ram goalkeeper, Koltin Fatzinger, to give Cal Poly their first lead of the game.
The game was now in the hands of the Mustang defense, which had played an inspired second half holding the CSU offense to only two goals. After a Ram timeout and with only 36 seconds left on the clock, the Mustang defense suffered one of their only breakdowns of the night, leaving Ram midfielder Greyson Konkel open on the left wing. Konkel buried an outside bounce shot, sending the game into sudden death overtime.
Ram face-off specialist, Dan Warfield, won the opening clamp and flung a behind the back pass to streaking long-stick midfielder Zach Arthur. Arthur fired a long outside bounce shot, but Mustang keeper Bowen Dunnahoo-Kirsch deflected the shot high above the cage and the Mustang sidelines heaved a sigh of relief.
It took nearly the entire four minutes, but on the Mustang’s fifth shot in the overtime stanza, Peter Chiang ripped a shot above Fatzinger’s head to give Cal Poly an emotional upset victory on the road.
Cal Poly travels down to UCSB on Wednesday night for the annual battle for Central Coast supremacy. The long time rivals will be honoring former Gaucho player Stephan Meloy, who passed away last year due to complications from his battle with leukemia. Proceeds from the game will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Santa Barbara.
For additional information or to purchase a t-shirt supporting the fundraiser, visit the UCSB Lacrosse website.
#2 Cal Poly vs #11 UCSB
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Harder Stadium, UCSB Campus
Cal Poly has beaten UCSB the past two seasons, but the Gauchos have dominated the overall series, winning the prior fourteen meetings between the two programs.
The undefeated Cal Poly Mustangs (4 - 0) have reached their highest ranking in program history, climbing to #2 in the nation in the latest Inside Lacrosse MCLA Coaches Poll. The Mustangs rise comes after recent victories over the University of Oregon, California, and the defending national champion BYU Cougars. BYU fell to the #3 slot in the latest poll as Oregon and Cal grabbed the #6 and #16 rankings, respectively.
The Mustangs will have to stay on track in order to hold onto their lofty ranking as they jump right back into the heart of the MCLA's toughest schedule with two more ranked opponents on the docket this week. The Mustangs take on longtime rival #11 UCSB on Wednesday night at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara, and then play the #5 ranked Boston College Eagles in Santa Barbara on Sunday.
February 18, 2012 (Novato, CA)
The #7 ranked Cal Poly Mustangs rallied past the #8 Oregon Ducks on Saturday knocking off the team that handed them two of their six losses last season, including a season ending loss in the 1st round of the MCLA National Championship tournament. The Mustangs had plenty of motivation coming into Saturday's contest against the Ducks in Novato, but it was the Ducks that led through much of the first half. Despite a lead in possession time and shots, Cal Poly trailed 6-4 at the break.
The Mustangs controlled the pace in the 3rd quarter, seizing the game's momentum on a beautiful fast break goal, as midfielder Sean Fitzpatrick passed to Jeff Carter who found attackman Matt Graupmann for the finish. Cal Poly built up an 11-9 lead early in the 4th quarter, but the Ducks were not going to go down without a fight. Oregon notched two quick goals from offensive leaders Spencer Robertson and Matt Johnson to tie up the game. On the ensuing face-off, junior midfielder Tim Albo won the draw, corralled the ground ball, and fired one in the back of the net to put the momentum squarely back in the Mustangs hands.
The two teams continued to battle down to the wire, but it was the Mustangs who came away with the 15-12 victory, and avenged last year's season-ending loss to the Ducks. Cal Poly won't get much of a chance to savor their victory, as they prepare to take on the defending national champions and top ranked BYU Cougars on Monday.