Friday night in Santa Barbara, the fifteenth-ranked Gauchos stole a win from No. 6 Colorado State in one of the most exciting sequences of the season.
CSU had made a huge comeback after trailing 5-1 at halftime, tying the game 5-5 with 34 seconds left. The Rams had possession with under 10 seconds to play before a goalie interference call gave UCSB a free clear at midfield and a restart. Then, this happened:
That’s Eli Suhadolnik (Torrey Pines), from well outside the restraining box, ripping an underhand shot past CSU goalie Frank Culhane (Minneapolis, Minn.), who had been pitching a second-half shutout. In a moment, UCSB flipped the game and grabbed a 6-5 win.
Despite the late-game heroics, the momentum didn’t carry into the Gauchos’ game Sunday against Colorado. The No. 8 Buffs beat UCSB 13-8, leading 5-3 at halftime and gradually pulling away. Santa Barbara attackman Casey Mix (Corona Del Mar) matched his season high of five points with three goals and two assists, and Suhadolnik also scored three goals.
The Panthers are back
The reigning champs are back in business. With Saturday night’s 10-7 win over No. 2 BYU, No. 14 Chapman proved to the MCLA that its slump has officially ended. The Panthers are winners of four straight, the most notable coming in the big-time victory this past weekend.
Steve Koressel (Huntington Beach) matched a season high with four goals in his five-point effort. Since fellow attackman Dylan Garner (Portland, Ore.) returned from injury on March 5, Koressel has posted 15 points in three games. Goalies Daniel Aguilar (Danville, Calif.) and Zach Rich (West Milford, N.J.), who have been platooning since Chapman’s loss to Utah, combined for eight saves while holding a potent Cougars’ offense to only seven goals.
It’s a significant step for a team that many pollsters had written off after Chapman lost three in a row in February. But since the calendar turned to March, the Panthers have turned a page of their own. The next big test comes this weekend, with a road trip to Colorado on tap.
Arizona schools each net a quality win
Both Arizona and Arizona State had impressive outings this weekend. For the No. 17 LaxCats, it came on Saturday — as they paid a visit to No. 21 San Diego State and pulled out a narrow 7-6 win. A stellar start put Zona up 5-0 before SDSU slowly chipped its way back into the game. It was Arizona’s second win of the season over a ranked opponent, adding to February’s win over Stanford to bolster UA’s tournament hopes.
No. 10 Arizona State knocked off No. 9 Utah, 14-11, in the Utes’ highly-anticipated home opener. In front of a crowd eager to see a top-10 matchup, the teams squared off in one of the most all-around, well played games of the year. ASU hopped out to an 8-5 halftime lead and staved off Utah’s comeback hopes the rest of the way.
Attackman Rhett Rodgers (Scottsdale, Ariz.) was the key cog in Arizona State’s offense, netting a career-high five goals. Patrick Haviland (Sacramento, Calif.) also chipped in a hat trick.
ASU followed that win with one over UNLV on Sunday, 12-11, in its conference opener. The Sun Devils built a convincing 12-5 lead with 10 minutes to play, before the Rebels came storming back. Goalie Johnny Perlite (De la Salle) had 16 saves in the contest.
Division II: Northern Arizona falters
The No. 15 Lumberjacks looked unstoppable coming into Sunday’s game against No. 23 UC Santa Cruz. But after a back-and-forth contest, things went into overtime, where the Banana Slugs sank the game-winner, taking it 15-14.
You can’t fault the NAU offense, though. Adam Zimmerman (Lakewood, Colo.) and Raphael Vargas (Litchfield Park, Ariz.) combined for 15 points. Even with 40 shots on net, though, the goal-scorers couldn’t quite get through senior goalie Tim Greene (San Dieguito Academy), who had a career-high 26 saves for UC Santa Cruz.
Elsewhere, No. 10 Cal-State Fullerton took care of business against a ranked opponent with a 17-9 win over No. 22 Fort Lewis. This came after No. 2 Concordia had also had its way with the Skyhawks, taking them down 20-5.