It has been a year of unprecedented achievement for Coach Matt Gier and The College of Idaho men’s lacrosse team.
After the most successful regular season in program history, the Yotes (8-3) found themselves in their first-ever Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League Tournament game last Saturday. The Yotes were victorious, knocking off Puget Sound 16-6 to reach this weekend’s tournament semifinals. Junior attacker Ian Williams and sophomore Dillon Green each tossed in five goals to lead the Yotes, who take a three-game winning streak into the final weekend of the season.
“The boys played great,” Gier said. “Our freshmen, in particular, have improved so much since we played Puget Sound in the season opener. The difference was night and day.”
Freshman attacker Nicholas Guzzetti is among the young players who have thrived for the Yotes. He scored three goals in the playoff opener to bring his team-leading total to 41. The C of I, which defeated Puget Sound 15-9 in the Feb. 28 season opener, was able to recall a Loggers’ defensive weakness and attack accordingly.
This Saturday’s semifinal offers a rematch with Portland at a neutral site in Covington, Wash. The Pilots won the regular-season meeting 14-9 in Portland, but Gier likes his team’s chances on a neutral field, and he expects a better offensive performance from his squad.
The Yotes struggled on offense in their first matchup with the Pilots (9-4), but the C of I has developed a balanced scoring attack that should be better equipped to match Portland on Saturday. In addition to Guzzetti’s 41-goal output, Williams (27 goals), Green (25), senior captain Austin Mendiola (24), senior captain Patrick Erstad (17) and freshman Jonah Jordan (11) have reached double-digit goal scoring this year.
Senior captain Taylor Murdock, who provides steady play and leadership at the midfield position, says the season has been an enjoyable run—one no one wants to see end on Saturday.
“Portland isn’t going to just roll over,” Murdock said. “We are going to have to play aggressive and continue to come together as a unit like we have the past few games.”
The semifinal game is set for 10 a.m. Saturday. If the Yotes win, they will play in the tournament championship game at 10 a.m. Sunday. Follow the action all weekend via the C of I lacrosse team website and Twitter feed.
Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.