The No. 3 BYU lacrosse team improved its record to 10-1 as it defeated No. 7 Oregon 21-11 on Saturday.
The first half remained close up until the halftime buzzer, as the score was tied at the end of both the first and second quarters. The Cougars jumped to a quick 2-0 lead on goals from senior attackers Ted Ferrin and Andrew Harding. The Ducks then went on a 3-1 run, scoring easy goals. Before the first quarter ran out, the Cougars were able to come back and tie the score 4-4.
The second quarter went largely the same as BYU and Oregon traded goals to end the half at 8-8.
According to sophomore midfielder Riley Hales, the first half was so close because the Cougars let the Ducks dictate the pace of the game.
“We were just lacking energy. We were letting them play their game and we were playing down to their level, so they were getting some goals,” Hales said. “We were also getting goals, but I think we just needed to play our game and make them try and keep up with us.”
The Cougars took control of the second half as they outscored the Ducks 6-2 in the third quarter and 7-1 in the fourth to put the game well out of reach at 21-11.
Head coach Matt Schneck, freshmen midfielder Andrew Bertha and Harding all said it is typical for BYU to play at a much higher level in the second half than the first.
“I don’t think it was really about anything we said at halftime that was a big motivator, it really is just the way we’ve been playing over the course of the last four or five games,” Schneck said. “We’re finding that we’re kind of getting into our groove and it takes us that time to get things figured out. Second halves have been really good for us all season long.”
According to Bertha, the team talked about picking up the game’s pace at halftime, which ultimately paid off.
“The first half was pretty close. We could have picked up the pace in the first half but we made the right adjustments at halftime,” Bertha said. “We’ve always been really good in the second half and at halftime we really put it together. We stressed coming out fast … We pride ourselves on being on fast and first to the ball all the time.”
Hales said the Cougars’ ability to quicken the speed of the game wore out the Ducks, allowing BYU to play its best game.
“This year we’ve always played a lot better in the second half. We try to fly around a lot and out hustle other teams,” Hales said. “In the second half I think we really got on our game and started to out hustle Oregon and I think in the end they got tired … They had to start playing our game and that’s when we took the lead and got ahead.”
According to Schneck, BYU was able to outscore Oregon 13-3 in the second half because of the team’s speed as well as the defense’s increased pressure on Oregon’s attack.
“One of the things they [BYU] did was they kept moving fast,” Schneck said. ”They put a lot of pressure on Oregon and most importantly, they were really, in a lot of ways, suffocating the other team. We made it really difficult for them and I think that constant pressure started to pay off.”
BYU will again play at home on March 30 as the cougars host Arizona State. The team looks forward to the match with much anticipation as it will be a rematch of 2011’s MCLA national championship, in which BYU took the crown with a 10-8 score.