BYU lacrosse wins first home game

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Buck Howard takes a shot in the fourth quarter of BYU’s lacrosse home opener. (Bryan Pearson)

The BYU lacrosse team defeated the Montana Grizzlies 23-3 in its first home game of the season on Friday night.

The Cougars improved to 2-1 on the season with the win after splitting their first two games in Las Vegas last weekend.

“We’re obviously very pleased with the win tonight, and it was a good follow-up from our games in Las Vegas,” head coach Matt Schneck said. “We started out our first game slower and making too many mistakes, and we came up short because of that. The speed in which we played tonight was representative of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

BYU’s Dustin Skousen won the opening faceoff, and the Cougars quickly started their assault. They dominated the opening quarter, only allowing the Grizzlies to three offensive possessions.

BYU goalie Matt Brandenburg made a spectacular save after a turnover behind the net to keep the first quarter shutout alive.

“I felt like I was seeing the ball well,” Brandenburg said. “We were all playing at a high intensity. We were all in our flow and doing things right, and that helped me to play big.”

The Cougars led 5-0 after one quarter with goals from Jake Arbon, Max Neser, Mike Fabrizio and Taylor Heyman.

Neser added another quick, man-up goal to start the second, but a slashing penalty on BYU’s Chandler Wescott gave Montana its first real opportunity to score. Salt Lake City native Eric Larson took advantage of the man-up situation for the Grizzlies, scoring their first goal of the game.

The Cougars scored four more before halftime to extend their lead to nine.

BYU was again up a man to start the second half, and it continued to pour in goals. Nic Stevens and Brandon Royce scored five of the Cougars’ nine third-quarter goals, and with a 19-3 lead, Schneck decided to give some younger guys a little playing time.

“Tonight was an exceptional opportunity to get a lot of players in,” he said. “It’s rare to be able to get everybody on your roster in a game, so tonight was a fun night, because it was a great opportunity for these guys to get in.”

Five more Cougars scored in the fourth quarter, bringing the total number of BYU scorers to 13.

“We’ve got a ton of depth on this team, and I thought the offense was just a thing of beauty tonight,” Brandenburg said. “They possessed the ball for a large amount of the game, and I was just sitting back there in the goal, and I loved it.”

Next up for BYU lacrosse is a trip to Phoenix for a trio of games. The team’s next home game will be Marh 14 against Minnesota-Duluth.

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