U lacrosse team heads to regional tournament with talented lineup

Jim Schortemeyer

The Minnesota club lacrosse team is hoping two weeks of good practice will lead to a strong showing at this weekend’s Upper Midwest Lacrosse League Tournament.
The stakes are high. The winner of the 12-team tourney goes to St. Louis for the national tournament, the rest stay home. For the sixth-seeded University team, it would take a pretty incredible run for the Gophers to make the national tournament.
“There’s a chance, but to get to the finals, we have to get past two teams that have beaten us twice, St. Cloud and UMD,” coach Chris Larson said. “And that’s just to get to the finals.”
One of those teams Minnesota had trouble with, Minnesota-Duluth, beat the Gophers at a tournament two weeks ago, 8-4. But since then, the weather and Minnesota’s fortunes have changed. The team has finally been able to get outside to practice, a move that has been needed for a while.
“We have lots of talent, but we need to work on it,” Jason Trine, the club’s co-leading scorer said. “It’s so cold during the winter, and when we can’t play outside, it’s tough to get familiar with each other.
“Now we’re looking great.”
Minnesota definitely isn’t short on scoring ability. Trine and senior captain Ben Mooney are the second-leading scorers in the regional conference.
But the two players haven’t been able to carry the 10-man lineup. Both the coach and Trine made it clear: The freshmen will have to play well for the team to get on a roll.
“There’s lots of new talent, we’re new in the field and a little unsure of what to do sometimes,” Trine said.
Larson attributes the strength to an increase of interest in the sport around the Twin Cities. Mooney and Trine both coach kids’ teams in the area, and Larson founded the St. Thomas team in ’85 before moving to coach the Gophers.
But while interest is high, Minnesota still lags well behind the East Coast, where lacrosse is an established NCAA sport.
“It’s close to hockey in this area,” Larson said. “As soon as they’re 2 years old, it seems like they’re out there playing. Just like hockey up here”