Editor’s Note: This spring Kyle Stinchcomb of the Clemson Tigers will be blogging with MCLA Fan. He’ll be filling us in on what it is like to be a Tiger and play a season in the SELC. Keep up the good work Kyle! Well we finally got our first taste of ranked competition in the MCLA this weekend and we took both positives and negatives away from it.
We played BC last Friday night and I think it’s pretty safe to say that we went into the game viewing it as the best team we will play all regular season, maybe with the exception of Colorado. The team and myself were pretty excited to play an established, powerhouse MCLA team. We’re somewhat new to the serious, ranked MCLA scene so this was something we had been looking forward to for awhile.
We came out and were locked in a pretty intense struggle for the first half. Boston College possessed the ball for minutes at a time and were content to dodge and re dodge for just about an entire quarter if they wanted to. We held pretty tough on defense, only allowing five goals in the first half. In the first quarter, there was a pretty scary moment on the field where a Boston College attack man went limp after taking a body check from one of our midfielders. Everyone who’s played a contact sport knows how terrifying it can be to stand there and watch someone get hit who’s not even expecting it. The BC player suffered a concussion and it was deemed a clean hit by the referees. We wish him the best in his recovery.
In the third quarter, BC really took over. They out possessed us and started to beat us on face-offs, a combination that is deadly against a good opponent. Virginia native and one of my current roommates, Connor Haile added a goal in the fourth in an attempt to spark us but it was to no avail. We ended up losing 11-5, with a couple of BC’s goals coming from pressuring at the end of the game.
Sophomore Goalie Alex Branton was easily our MVP for the game, walking away with 22 saves and doing a great job directing the defense. That’s another one of my roommates. We really represented our residence on Smoke Rise Drive well in the BC game. Cribs: Clemson Edition maybe? Along with Alex’s incredible play in goal, our defense played pretty well all things considered. I’m a little biased, as I play defense, but I think only giving up 11 goals in probably playing 45 minutes of defense isn’t bad at all. I’ve never walked away from a lacrosse game more tired then I was Friday night.
Boston College swept our conference and will definitely be team to reckon with come national championship time.
Sunday we faced off against UCF at an early 11 a.m. game, and it was freezing. Getting to the field at 9:30 when it’s 30 degrees out with a significant wind chill is something I didn’t really plan for when I decided to go to college in South Carolina.
Anyway, UCF marked a key point in our season for us because it would show how we bounced back after a loss and how we stack up in the SELC.
We came out and immediately rose to the challenge. The first half was hard fought and a back and forth game. We had senior midfielder Will Thiede locking off their best attackmen and let’s just say that Will did an amazing job. If any SELC coaches happen to be reading this I hope you consider him for Defensive player of the year for the conference. Oh yeah, by the way he’s a short stick midfielder. Their kid kept pulling Will out on dead ball situations and every time Will either took the ball away or completely stopped him dead in his tracks. That day he created our new team thing to do, some call it spoons and some call it keep feeding. It’s the celebration Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs have done for the Giants the past couple years where they just keep eating up their opponents. Denard Robinson does it at Michigan too. We had a lot of fun with that on Sunday.
To go along with that, it felt like we were really a team last Sunday. Everyone was having fun, we played well as a team and we won the game by a decently big number. Freshman J.P. Brennan tallied 4 goals on the day, so it was good to see some younger guys really step up.
On the whole, I think the weekend was a success. It wasn’t fun to lose to BC, but now we know what it takes to beat a top tier team in the MCLA. On Sunday, we showed we could bounce back from a loss. Big thanks to Boston College and UCF for coming to Clemson to play us.
We leave for the ATL tonight for Texas A and M and then travel to Savannah tomorrow to play SCAD in the annual RIP10 tournament they host there. The tournament was created to raise awareness and safety for teen driving and played in memory of Ricky McAllaster. We’re excited to be apart of it and it’s also always a good thing to play a top ranked team in another league (SCAD is currently #8 in MCLA D2).
There will be plenty of Ludacris, T.I., and Jermaine Dupree on tap for our trip to Atlanta tonight. Have to get in the ATL state of mind. Hopefully next week we can post something a little more fun, some of our gear should finally be coming in.
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