BYU lacrosse team beating best in nation

The BYU lacrosse team meets at midfield after defeating No. 2 Grand Canyon University March 6 in Phoenix. (BYU Lacrosse Facebook)

The BYU lacrosse team is on a hot streak.

In the last two weeks, the Cougars have defeated the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation. And things are just getting started.

The men’s lacrosse team, while not an officially sanctioned BYU team, has definitely made an impressive splash in the beginning of its season. The Cougars last won the National Championship in 2011, and this season, they are hoping to go far in the postseason.

The Cougars started out their season ranked in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association poll at No. 6, but in the past two weeks, they have climbed to the No. 2 spot.

The team currently has just one loss, dropping a game to UNLV earlier this season.

“We suffered kind of a bad loss at the beginning of the season, and it woke us up a little bit,” junior Zach Labrum said. “Our team definitely has the capabilities to go far, and I think that our mentality changed when we dropped that bad loss.”

Coming off that loss to the Rebels, the then No. 4 Cougars took on the current No. 1 team Cal Poly. BYU started hot and rode the momentum to a 6-5 win.

Coach Matt Schneck credited much of the win over Cal Poly to freshman goalie Mason Moon.

“That would have been a different game without an absolutely stand out performance by (Mason Moon),” Schneck said.

Moon made his collegiate debut for the Cougars in the first game of the season against Arizona, saving 13 of the 15 shots on goal and was given the the MCLA Division I Commanding Performance of the Week Award following the game.

The confidence that stemmed from their season-opening win helped propel the Cougars into week two, where they defeated No. 13 Arizona State and No. 2 Grand Canyon.

While many of the players credit their wins against these top ranked teams to diligently practicing and watching film, veteran Harrison Wardle said he sees something different in the team this year.

“This team has a camaraderie, a unity and a family bond with just a love for one another,” Wardle said. “I feel like I’ve never seen that. It just comes from the trust and the hard work that everyone puts in.”

According to Wardle, the Cougars are largely led by the 11 seniors on the team.

“We’ve got a group of guys that are super humble and super willing to work hard,” Wardle said. “They are willing to keep it a very flat organization.”

The Cougars are still in the early part of their year, just six games into their 17-game regular season schedule.

Schneck said the team is focused on improving each and every week.

“The goal is to be at your very best and at your peak the end of the seasons,” Schneck said. “Hopefully we are performing well enough through the course of the season so that it puts us in a good place to participate in the postseason.”

With such a long season, Schneck is making sure his players are healthy.

“When you have so many games, the guys get bumps and bruises, and you have to deal with some injuries and getting guys healthy enough so that they can play,” Schneck said.

There is no doubt BYU lacrosse is facing a tough season. Schneck said this is one of the “toughest schedules that BYU lacrosse has ever had.”

The Cougars have been playing away from Provo for the last two weeks, but return to Provo March 18 at 4 p.m. to host Simon Fraser University.

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