Texas and Ole Miss Win at Allstate Sugar Bowl Lacrosse Classic park
Texas and Ole Miss were the winners at the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Lacrosse Classic on Saturday at Pan American Stadium in City Park. In the marquee evening matchup, the Longhorns held off Arizona State, 4-3, while in the preliminary game, the Rebels upended LSU, 12-11, in overtime.
There were also a pair of high school matchups with Caddo Magnet School of Shreveport defeating Brother Martin, 17-5, followed by Loyola Prep edging Catholic High, 5-3.
In the marquee game between Texas and Arizona State, the Longhorns, ranked No. 13 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse MCLA Coaches Poll, surprised the second-ranked Sun Devils with a tremendous defensive performance. Texas held the touted ASU offense scoreless in the first half while collecting goals of its own from Cody Crew and Josh Francis for a 2-0 advantage. In the third quarter, Justin Straker cracked the scoring column for the Sun Devils, but Spencer Price answered for Texas to keep the advantage at two goals. ASU opened the fourth quarter scoring as Logan Quinn netted his first of the game, but Francis came back for the Horns with his second of the evening for a 4-2 advantage. Quinn added a late goal for the Devils, but that was all they would get as Texas held on for the victory. Francis was named the Classic MVP after his two-goal performance.
Texas has now won both Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Lacrosse Classic titles as the Longhorns beat Florida State, 12-11, in overtime last year.
The preliminary game between Ole Miss and LSU saw quite a bit more offense with a total of seven players tallying multiple goals, including a game-high four scores from LSU's Saban Sellers. The Tigers had a 10-7 lead after three quarters, but the Rebels opened the fourth period with unanswered goals from Jimmy Peterson, Connor Kelly (his third of the game) and Jake Finnen to knot the game at 10. LSU's Josh Henderson put the Tigers back on top briefly, but Max Snider forced overtime with his third tally of the afternoon.
The five-minute sudden death overtime period went down to the wire, but then Finnen, who had two goals of his own, found Sam Doub darting in front of the cage and Doub flipped the game-winner home with eight seconds remaining.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has sponsored lacrosse action for the last six years, including last month's sixth annual Allstate Sugar Bowl High School Lacrosse Classic, which featured a record 40 teams in action at Lafreniere Park.
Recognized as one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States, lacrosse has seen youth participation grow over 500 percent since 1999 to nearly 250,000. No sport has grown faster at the high school level over the last 10 years and there are now an estimated 200,000 high school players. The sport is also growing fast in Louisiana, which had seven high school teams in 2008 and has grown to 19 teams scheduled to compete in 2012. The high-speed game is also a fan favorite, drawing crowds of as many as 50,000 for NCAA Final Four games.