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ISSUE 118 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/6/2005

Lacrosse nets fifth place

By Marjorie Thirlby
Sports Editor

Friday, May 6, 2005

On Sunday, the St. Olaf men’s lacrosse team finished their 2005 season.

The team won their last regular season game against Marquette April 23, and last weekend they played in the Upper Midwest Lacrosse League (UMLL) championship tournament, finishing fifth.

During the Oles’ home battle against Marquette, they squashed the Golden Eagles 8-4 in a sun-splashed game, surrounded by numerous Ole friends and family.

In the first quarter, St. Olaf came out strong, attempting three shots and scoring one goal, provided by attackman Matt Stonestrom ‘05. In the second quarter, St. Olaf scored three goals, followed by one in the third. In the fourth quarter, St. Olaf scored three goals, securing the win.

Besides Stonestrom’s contribution, attackman Greg Olson ‘08 provided one goal and three assists and attackman Kurt Bickler ‘07 had two goals. Midfielder Kevin Ofstehage ‘06 had one goal and one assist, fellow midfielder Colin Reily ‘06 scored one goal and attackman Jeff Nordaas ‘08 contributed one assist.

Kudos certainly went to Ole goaltender Lance Kuehn ‘05, who made nine saves and allowed four goals, finishing the day with a 0.692 save percentage.

The Oles were thrilled to have a large crowd gathered at their only home game.

“It was great to get a strong win in against Marquette and to see so many fans cheering us on at the field,” David Strand ‘05 said.

On April 29, the six-seeded Oles headed to the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. to participate in their first playoff match of the UMLL championship against the number three-seeded University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point. Eight of the nine A-league teams entered the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Oles lost to UW-Steven’s Point 10-5.

“Overall we played pretty well, but it was penalties that hurt us,” Strand said. “Steven’s Point scored five of their goals just off of man-up penalties alone. However, our aggressive mistakes were a sign that we were working hard and not being lazy.”

On Saturday, the Oles played the first game of the UMLL consolation bracket against number seven seed St. Cloud State.

The Oles beat back the Huskies, winning a close match 8-6. Although the Oles pulled off a win, they were slightly disappointed with their performance.

“It was too close of a game,” Strand said. “We missed too many shots and our clears were terrible.”

Nevertheless, the Oles’ win was good enough to enter them into the fifth place game. The team faced off against number eight Concordia on Sunday and conquered the Cobbers 13-7 in the unpredictable May 1 weather.

Stonestrom scored three goals and provided four assists, bringing his season total to over 100 points. Last year, Stonestrom earned all-conference honors along with Strand.

The Oles will also lose Kuehn, who earned second team all-conference honors this season, and Micah Juelfs ’05, another valuable player.

The St. Olaf men’s lacrosse team is already looking forward to next year’s season.

“We will be a good contender in the UMLL,” Strand said. “Although we didn’t finish as well as we did last year, we are moving in a good direction for the program. We’re losing only four seniors, one at each position. It should be easy for the team to do well next year if we find players to fill the positions.”

In addition to forming new roles on the team, the Oles will have captain Jack Macintyre ‘07 back on the field. Earlier in the year, Macintyre suffered an ACL injury and was out for the season. He plans on a successful recovery and hopes to make a strong contribution to the team’s next season.

Currently, the Oles are recruiting players for the 2006 season. Recently, Strand spoke to a Canadian player with a strong interest in venturing out to the Midwest. Undoubtedly, the Oles’ talent, dedication and optimism are sure to make the team a strong contender in the UMLL for 2006.

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