Welcome to ‘The Coug Nation’ , senior Eric Zacharias from the Claremont Cougars will be joining MCLA Fan this spring for a season-long look into Claremont’s lacrosse team. Look forward to great stuff out of Southern Cal all season.
Eric Zacharias (#14) is a Senior Defender and Team President for the Claremont Cougars. Originally from San Diego, playing lacrosse four years at La Jolla High School, Eric is now a dual major in Economics and Math at Claremont McKenna College.In his free time Eric is an unabashed Claremont Cougar and San Diego Chargers/Padres homer.
Two weeks into the Coug’s season the team has experienced some highs and lows. The season got off to a flying start hosting MCLA D2 team Biola. As usual, Biola came out playing physical, gritty lacrosse that brought a competitive edge to the game. Though the game was never in question, as we rolled to a 17-4 win (led by 4 goal efforts from Sr. David Cook and Jr. Jamil Karriem) it was an excellent opportunity to see where we stand outside of practice and what needs to be picked up in order to be competitive in a very tough SLC.
That said, the season opener was not with out some great moments. Most notably, late in the 4th quarter Andrew Cha touched the ball in a game for the first time . . . and scored. Having never played in high school or before this season, Cha caught a feed on the crease, turned and stuck the ball into the top corner much to the delight of the bench. The following day was our annual alumni game, hosted by the Trapp Family (the family of great Cougar alums Phil and Jason). It was great to see a great group of alums back on campus Saturday night, even if it meant a sloppy game Sunday morning before the Superbowl. The throwback jerseys looked great too.
After a fun weekend, it was back to the grind at practice leading up to a big game and road trip up to play Cal Poly SLO. We saw this game as an opportunity to announce ourselves to the league as a team that will be competing to return to the national scene. After the 4.5 hour bus ride up Friday afternoon, highlighted by goalie Sam Bennett demonstrating his paper hat building skills and the rookies demonstrating their paper hat wearing skills, checking into the Embassy Suites and a quick team dinner, we made our way over to Cal Poly’s campus to take in Poly’s matchup with UCSB under the lights. That game was a great opportunity to see what we would be up against the following afternoon. It was a very exciting, competitive game as would be expected of a rivalry game, but both teams looked a bit sloppy at times, likely due to the adrenaline and pace of the game. After watching that tilt, we returned to the hotel confident that Cal Poly, while good, was a team we could certainly compete well against.
Unfortunately, Saturday’s matchup did not go the way we had hoped at all. We simply were never in the game, falling 14-1. Cal Poly outplayed us in every aspect of the game and shot the lights out. Poly played considerably better than in their season opener and we did not put our best game together. The team did not wake up and bring our physical style of play until the second half when it was already too late to get back into the game. While the loss hurt, we are using our lapses in Cal Poly as motivation for a rallying point in our season. This week has gotten off to a fast start with some of the most intense practices we have had in years. There is no time to rest though as we have two huge games upcoming this weekend. Friday night we take on San Diego State University at San Juan Hills HS in San Juan Capistrano. SDSU ended our season one game short of the SLC finals in a one goal game 2 years ago, a loss we are looking to avenge and get the season back on a winning track. Then Monday afternoon we meet up with an always top ranked BYU team at Claremont (barring a move due to rain).
Be sure to check out our boathouse store designed by Denver University Assistant coach, LAS contributor and Claremont Alum: http://claremontlax.boathousegear.com/