The Sooners men’s lacrosse team has taken off in the right direction this season as they begin the fourth weekend 3-0, with matchups against Texas State and Baylor on the road.
Big things were expected when Oklahoma started 8th in the LSA power rankings this season. But, the Sooners really began to open eyes with a 15-8 win over SMU, their first against the Mustangs in program history.
Although lacrosse is not a sport that has made deep roots in the southern states, the OU lacrosse team dates all the way back to 1978. Although the team experienced a brief hiatus, they have been bringing talented players from across the country since then.
In their current MCLA Division I North conference, the Lone Star Alliance (LSA), the Sooners match up against SMU, Texas State, Baylor, TCU, University of North Texas, Texas A&M. As well as their conference competitors, Oklahoma play non-conference games (Tulsa, Nebraska, Illinois, etc.) throughout the season.
The Sooners have been building talent through the program for the past four years, so many of this year’s starters that are reaching their peak, which has set up for a season with high expectations, and early history making.
Senior captain Mason Moore started the season off strong with eight goals and two assists against University of Tulsa in the opener.
Senior captain Nick Ierullo is maintaining a strong five points per game average, blowing past last season’s average of 3.82. With the change of position from attack to midi, Ierullo passing game has seen huge improvements, as he already has 12 assists, nearing last year’s total of 16.
Senior captain Ryan Thyrring holds a 75 percent face-off win statistic. Thyrring has started his senior season with more face-off wins than his sophomore and junior years at OU. The strong performances to start the season should bode well for this Sooner team as they get into the meat of their schedule this month.
In the Sooners game against the Mustangs on February 21, Oklahoma was able to average 3.75 goals per quarter. While SMU was able to average 2 goals per quarter and a mediocre average save percentage of 46 percent.
Southern Methodist University has been a talented rival and is a pivotal win for the Sooners. This win, along with the prior two over Tulsa and St. Gregory’s, proved that this Sooner team has a great amount of chemistry and ball movement that will be hard for their opponent’s to handle.
As for the rest of the season, the Sooners performance against SMU showed this team can achieve great things in 2015. OU faces Texas State tomorrow, who’s 2-3 overall, with three straight losses.
Texas State and SMU played on February 7 in Dallas for the Bobcats to take the win back to San Marcos by one goal, finishing the game 5-4.
Another Sooner to keep an eye on in upcoming games is Junior attack Dylan Ikkala. He scored eight goals against the Mustangs and is averaging 4.67 points per game.
If Ikkala can continue to be a large contributor from here on out, he will also develop into one of the leaders for this team. His tall stature at 6’ 4’’ and aggressive playing style is a benefit for any team, especially in road games, like this weekend against the Bobcats. There is one key missing piece for Saturday’s match up: senior defender Maddy Dye. Dye is out with a possibly dislocated shoulder, so the Sooners are going to have to find a way with without him.
But, either way, it’s an exciting time to be an OU lacrosse fan. The team has made program history within it’s first three games, and we can only hope there’s more to come, with six tough road games coming up. Boomer!