In the first round of the 2016 Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League Championship, The College of Idaho lacrosse team trailed Western Washington 9-6 in the fourth quarter. Never quitting, the team fought back. With 35 seconds left in the game, freshman Jason Leach zipped one past the goalie to score the equalizing goal and force overtime.
But a minute into extra time, Western Washington scored the golden goal to eliminate the Yotes from the postseason. In fact, all four of the team’s losses occurred by one goal last year—which has left a sour taste in the Yotes’ mouth.
“We had a good season last year, but it ended earlier than we wanted,” said head coach Matt Gier. “The guys are ready to put in the work and have the season I know we can have.”
Coming in with a chip on their shoulder, the Yotes are ready to prove the C of I is the next powerhouse in collegiate lacrosse. The team was picked second in the preseason PNCLL Coaches’ Poll, receiving three first-place votes.
The Yotes will be helped in their conquest by returning PNCLL Offensive Player of the Year Nich Guzzetti, who led the nation in goals per game (5.38) and points per game (7.75) last season. The junior attackman said the team will stick to its usual style of play as they enter the season.
“We always look to play a fast offense and close defense,” he said. “This year will be no different.”
The Yotes are also bringing in a stellar freshmen recruiting class to complement their veteran leadership. Four-year starting goalie Virgil “V.J.” Dahm, who has seen the team grow exponentially during his time on campus, is excited to see what the new recruits will add.
“I think the entire team has been counting down the days for the last two months,” Dahm said. “We’re tired of beating each other up at practice and ready to beat up another team.”
And after a long and snowy winter, the team will open its season against Gonzaga at noon next Sunday, Feb. 26, at Simplot Stadium.
If last year’s game against the Zags is any indication, the season opener is sure to be entertaining. The Yotes squeaked by with a 17-16 victory over Gonzaga, after opening the game on an 8-2 run. This year, the squad looks to get off to the same fast start, but keep its foot on the pedal.
“A lot of the guys, they remember what happened last year [with the one-point losses], and it will never be out of their memory,” Gier said. “So they’ve been working harder to make sure that we can run the table. We have a lot to prove, and we’re ready to earn it and put the C of I on the map.”
For the full schedule of C of I lacrosse games, click here.
The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. 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. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.