March 12, 2014

MCLA Notebook: Laxcats On the Rise Under Pedrick?

by Tim Haslam | | Twitter

Long a Top 25 fixture, Arizona is 5-1 and primed to jump into the upper eschelon of the MCLA scene under new coach Derek Pedrick. (Chris Hook) Week Two Top 5 (source)

Division I

Division II

1 - Colorado
2 - Colorado State
3 - Arizona State
4 - Boston College
5 - Bringham Young 

1 - St. Thomas
2 - St. John's
3 - Grove City
4 - Grand Valley State
5 - Elon 

When the Arizona Laxcats hired Derek Pedrick last Summer, there were many question marks surrounding the future of the team. Would Pedrick be able to take Arizona out of the Top 25, where it feels like they've stayed stagnant for several years, and into the Top 10? Would the Laxcats finally step out of the shadows of rival Arizona State? Would Arizona get a win over the Sun Devils in 2014, a feat that hasn't happened since 2007?

As we sit nearly midway through the season, many of those questions still remain, but the Laxcats are 5-1, currently ranked No. 20 and on a five game winning streak. The lone loss came in the first game of the season to a pesky San Diego squad who have caused problems for several teams this season. Big wins over Washington State, Oregon State, USC, Concordia and New Hampshire have the Laxcats running on all cylinders.

"Our kids are learning a new system and a new way to approach the game," said Pedrick. "Each game we've gotten better."

The Laxcats will take to the road this weekend in a tough three-game swing with No. 16 Westminster, No. 4 BYU and Utah.

"We certainly understand that the meat of our schedule is coming up," said Pedrick. "We are going to get tested real quick. Our boys are excited though to prove they can compete with the best and we certainly have that opportunity this weekend."

When Arizona returns home, they'll host No. 10 Simon Fraser, No. 9 Sonoma State and Washington for a total of six games in 10 days.

"It's going to be good," said Pedrick. "We're going to see what we're made of."

Looking Back

The talk of the MCLA last weekend was the top two teams in D-I, No. 1 Colorado and No. 2 Colorado State both losing on the same night at the same time. Colorado fell to Michigan State and Colorado State lost to RMLC rival BYU, snapping the Rams 33-game winning streak. The Cougars were the last team to beat CSU, an 8-6 affair on April 7, 2012.

In D-II, the annual Sailfish Shootout saw 10 D-II teams convene in Florida for a two-week long event of great lacrosse. The highlights of the event was a 10-7 win for No. 3 Grove City over No. 5 Elon, No. 14 Palm Beach Atlantic getting an 18-17 overtime win over No. 6 U.S. Coast Guard and Grove City taking down Palm Beach Atlantic, 15-12.

Coaching Gamut

A story from highlights Hank Marotske, the current St. Olaf Head Coach, and his past history in the foster care system as a child. He credits his success to the fact that he was able to go to college despite having the odds stacked against him. Marotske is now working to make college more affordable and accessible for foster children.

On the flip side, the Idaho Statesmen reported that former Boise State Co-Head Coach Paul Rocchio was arrested for allegedly trying to entice a minor for a sexual encounter. Rocchio was immediately released by the team. According to the Boise State Facebook Page, the team has hired Brian Sanderson. Sanderson has been a member of the coaching staff at Boise State for 10 years in various roles.

Looking Ahead

Despite losses last weekend, No. 2 Colorado State and No. 3 Colorado will be anxious to host Arizona State in search of wins to get back to their top spots while the Sun Devils defend their new No. 1 spot.

No. 15 Kennesaw State, No. 7 Dayton and No. 10 Indiana Tech will swap games this weekend. The Owls and Flyers come into the event with a 5-0 record while the Warriors are 1-1.

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