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March 26, 2014

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MCLA Notes: BYU Finding Its Way

by Tim Haslam | LaxMagazine.com

MCLA Polls: Week 5

Division I

1 - Arizona State (9-0)
2 - Colorado (9-2)
3 - BYU (9-2)
4 - Boston College (5-1)
5 - Michigan State (5-2)

Division II

St. John's (2-0)
St. Thomas (4-1)
Dayton (8-1)
Grove City (6-1)
Grand Valley State (2-2)

Full Polls at MCLA.us

After a one-goal win for BYU over UNLV in the opening game of the season on February 1 in Provo, things were different on the BYU sidelines. There was a feeling of relief rather then the confidence that usually accommodates the Cougars after a win.

The Cougars then traveled to Boise State and picked up wins over Boise State and a solid win over a great Simon Fraser squad. After a 12-8 loss to No. 4 Boston College five days later, the question was asked: Who is this 2014 Cougar team? A mirror of the great teams from the past or an unfamiliar, inconsistent shadow of the greats?

A quick glance at the roster could explain the Cougars plight. Just one player registers as a Senior in the eligibility column. Only 7 Juniors and the rest are Sophomores and Freshmen.

"We recognized it from the beginning of the season, that this was a team that was going to have to overachieve to be successful," said BYU Head Coach Matt Schneck. "We're young and inexperienced. We haven't had big wins this year but we're finding ways to win which is a great thing."

In the games that have followed the Boston College loss, the Cougars have gone 6-1 with wins over No. 22 Oregon, No. 5 Michigan State, San Diego State, No. 6 Colorado State, No. 13 Arizona and most recently No. 16 Westminster. The lone hiccup being at the hands of No. 2 Colorado.

"Sometimes through adversity you see guys that step up and people that find ways to bond together and make it work and I think that's been one of the keys for us," said Schneck. "When we got into January this year and found out we had 8 guys we needed to suspend and 6 guys that were having injuries with 3 season ending injuries, these guys had to dig deep and try to figure out how they were going to make it work and I think they've done a good job so far."

Everyone suspected that Junior Attackman Mike Fabrizio (23g, 14a) would have a solid 2014 campaign after a 2013 MCLA Honorable Mention All-American season but what they didn't know is who would help lead the Cougars on offense. Fabrizio is finding help from fellow Juniors Nick Stevens (19g, 4a), Jake Arbon (11g, 5a), Zach Jordan (11g, 3a), Christian Taylor (11g, 2a) and Jayden Haws (6g, 5a), but the big surprise has been Freshman Attackman Aaron Fjeldsted. In just his first season, Fjeldsted has 14 goals and 17 assists in 10 games, good enough for a 3.100 PPG average.

After the 14-11 win over in-state rival Westminster on Saturday, Fjeldsted was awarded the game ball.

"If you watched what he did today, he scored goals which is great, but he hustled all over the field and he works hard every game and continues to do an outstanding job," said Schneck.

The Cougars have two more Top 20 showdowns this week when they host No. 8 UCSB on Wednesday and No. 14 Cal Poly on Saturday. Should the Cougars get two more wins, they surely will be added to the list next to the great Cougar squads of years past.

Looking Ahead

No. 15 Davenport will take to the skies and play No. 6 Colorado State, No. 2 Colorado and UNLV this weekend in what will be their toughest test of the season. This trip will give the Panthers a good idea where they stand so far this year.

No. 14 Cal Poly will be heading to Utah to take on No. 16 Westminster and No. 3 BYU. The Mustangs are still search for a signature win on the road.

In D-II, newly appointed No. 1 St. Johns will play four games in three days as they take on No. 4 Grove City on Friday, No. 10 Indiana Tech on Saturday morning, No. 3 Dayton Saturday afternoon and No. 15 DePaul on Sunday. Indiana Tech is coming off a 9-8 win over former No. 1 St. Thomas. Dayton also played St. Thomas last and fell 10-9. No. 9 North Dakota State will also be in Illinois for the showdown and will face Dayton, Grove City and Indiana Tech.


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