The University of Missouri Men’s Lacrosse team had a great run during the 2012 campaign. While the final outcome may not have been what many had hoped for, the 2012 season proved to be a step forward for the program. The Tigers finished the season with a record of 8-3, going 4-0 in their conference. Winning the GRLC West was a huge accomplishment for the Tigers. The program had not won the GRLC West conference title since 2003. The Tigers came up just short in the GRLC Conference Tournament this year, losing to Iowa in a heartbreaking overtime loss. It was a tough way to end the season, but the team was able to learn and grow from the loss.
The team faced many adversities throughout the season, but they always managed to overcome whatever they were faced with. Losing 2011 3rd Team All-American Zach Nisson and starting face-off man James Stannard to shoulder injuries was a major setback for the Tigers, but sophomores Tim Adams and Matt Vollmer were able to pick up the slack. Tim Adams led the team in points this year, averaging 3.375 points per game. Increasing his average nearly one full point from his freshman year. Matt Vollmer led the team in goals with 22, while also improving his point per game average. Underclassman played a major role on the offensive side of the field this year. Out of the top 10 point scorers this year, eight were sophomores or younger. With underclassman playing such a major role on the team, the future is very bright for the Tigers.
Due to injuries, the Tigers will only be graduating seniors Josh Nelson and Sean Hogarty. Josh and Sean have been key players during the rise of the program. Off the field, they both held Leadership Team positions for two or more years. On the field, both were able to accumulate very successful careers. Sean finished is career with an outstanding goals against average of 6.29. With Sean in goal, the Tigers always knew they had a reliable and skilled goalie to back them up. Sean has set a high standard for all future goalies of Mizzou Lacrosse.
Josh Nelson also played a major role in the growth of the program. Josh was president of the team for two years and helped to push the program to a new standard. On the field, Josh provided leadership for the team. He was captain for three years and started every game for Mizzou in the past four years. Josh is a three-time GRLC All-Conference award winner, earning 1st Team All-Conference in two different positions. As a junior, he received 1st Team at long stick midfield and as a senior he received 1st Team at defensive midfield. He also was an All-American honorable mention as a junior and was nominated again for All-American this year.
Mizzou Lacrosse is thankful for all that both Sean and Josh have done while apart of the program.
More photos from the MU-Iowa game
In their first conference game of the year, Mizzou beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 20-4. Mizzou returned to their normal self after two losses to top 12 teams. The key to victory was Mizzou’s ability to come out fast and firing. Five minutes into the game, Mizzou was up 6-0. Another key to victory was the production of goals and assists from the second line midfield.
Head Coach Eric Chole had this to say about the second line, “When our second line comes out firing and putting points on the board, we can really be a dangerous team. They have the ability to put up a lot of points and when they do, they are a real X factor for us.” Moving into the second quarter, the team was able to keep the momentum going and continued to score. By halftime, Mizzou was up 11-0. In the second half, the team’s focus was on possessing the ball. Mizzou was able to run through their plays and keep the pressure on. Nebraska notched their first goal of the game late in the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter, Mizzou was up 16-1.
By the start of the fourth, everyone on the Mizzou roster had played in the game. Sophomore Ethan Payer, a two-year starter, had this to say, “It’s a good thing when a team can get their second and third strings in during the end of a game like this, that way younger and inexperienced players can see more playing time and continue to improve.” With six minutes left in the game, the score was 20-1.
A big part of how Mizzou plays is respecting the game. Before every game, the team always comes into a huddle and talks about respecting the game they all love. Given that, the team abided by a “no-shot” rule for the rest of the fourth quarter in an attempt to not run up the score. Senior captain Josh Nelson had this to say, “Too many times teams run up the score on other teams. We don’t try and do that here at Mizzou. Nebraska is a good team and we have had some really close games in the past. We respect them as a program and running up the score would just have been disrespectful.” In the final few minutes of the game, Nebraska was able to cash in on multiple man-up opportunities, scoring three quick goals before time expired.
Saturday’s offensive effort was a team effort with 11 players scoring. The team was lead by Gerry Leonard with six points (three goals and three assists) followed closely by Ryan Biek with five points (four goals and one assist).
Mizzou is scheduled to play Iowa on Saturday, April 14 at Stankowski. Iowa currently sits at 1-1 in conference play, beating Wisconsin and losing a close game to Kansas. Iowa is always a fundamentally sound team and the Tigers have a lot of work to do before the Hawkeyes come to Columbia next weekend.
View more photos on the fund raising photo site.
The Missouri men’s lacrosse team kicked off its season Saturday with a impressive 10-5 win over Missouri Baptist. Mizzou dominated in the first half, scoring six goals and holding MoBap scoreless. MoBap came out of the halftime break energized and scored quickly, but Missouri answered just as quickly to maintain the six goal lead.
Missouri Baptist, rated No. 13 in the MCLA, rebounded with four more goals, but Missouri’s offensive machine continued to generate goals, never allowing MoBap to get close.
Senior attack Zach Nisson lead the scoring for Mizzou with one goal and three assists (4 points). Freshman attack Alex Hepper had one goal and two assists (3 points); Gerry Leonard, Jake Huebert, Matt Vollmer all had 2 points and Matt Ward, Ryan Biek, Adam Cook and Josh Nelson had one point each.
Missouri plays Missouri S&T on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m. on Stankowski Field.
Photos by Karen Mitchell