By RYAN HAMILTON
The BYU lacrosse team will face off against a relatively new Utah Valley State College team Friday night in the Cougars’ first game of the year.
Although the official lacrosse season does not begin until spring, the Cougars are looking at this game as an opportunity to “get out and stretch our legs,” said head coach Jason Lamb.
This game will have no affect on the team standings for the regular season, but both teams are looking forward to playing.
“We are preparing like this is a regular game,” Lamb said.
UVSC lacrosse is only in its second season, and for many UVSC players, Friday night will be their first experience in a formal competitive lacrosse setting.
UVSC head coach Chris Rader said he felt this game would be a good introduction for his team to high-caliber competition.
“We have more players than we had last year, and we are more excited this year than we were last year,” Rader said.
The UVSC team is hoping to benefit from competing against BYU and learning from the experience, Rader said. BYU has had a lacrosse team for 25 years.
In recent years, BYU lacrosse, a club team, has proven its ability. In 1997, the Cougars won a national club championship, and in 1998 the Cougars came home second in the nation. Last season BYU went into the national tournament with a first-place ranking, but came out in fifth place.
According to Lamb, BYU also benefits because many of his players come from lacrosse backgrounds in the eastern United States.
“Lacrosse is very popular in the East and the kids that play in the East are starting to hear about our program and come here,” Lamb said.
Rader saod he recognizes his team does not share the same background the Cougars enjoy.
“We have a lot of brand new players that have never played before,” Rader said.
Lamb said BYU wants to take advantage of this opportunity to play early in the year by trying out some new rotations.
“We don’t care as much about winning as getting some experience,” Lamb said.
Lamb said he is hoping to get a good crowd out to the game and give some fans an opportunity to get introduced to lacrosse.
“Lacrosse is new to a lot of people, but it is very contagious. People enjoy watching it,” Lamb said.
The game will be Friday night at 7 at Helaman Field.