Can Brock lacrosse get back to the top of the CUFLA?

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Last season looked like it was the year for Brock men’s lacrosse to finally get back to the top of the CUFLA. With the addition of a couple top recruits and returning seniors, the Badgers finished undefeated in the CUFLA west division, going 12-0 with the best goals for and goals against in the entire league.

The last time the Badgers reached the Baggataway Cup championship game was in 2011, when they fell to Bishop’s 11-6. They were there in 2010 as well but fell to McMaster 11-10. The year prior to that they were successful in retrieving the Cup defeating McMaster 12-11. The 2009 victory could be considered the end of a dynasty for the best lacrosse program in the CUFLA. The Badgers had won 17 championships between 1989 and 2009 — 18 total since 1986.

It seemed 2017’s undefeated season was going to be the Badgers return to the top, specifically after two regular season wins versus the back-to-back champion Western Mustangs. The Badgers handed the Mustangs their only two losses of the season, 12-11 and 12-8 in overtime.

Once getting to the playoffs, the Badgers got an easy 17-3 victory over Laurier to advance to the semi-finals to play the Guelph Gryphons. During the season, the Gryphons fell to the Badgers 16-4 and 8-7 – the lowest scoring game of the season for Brock.

The playoff matchup would see both teams take turns scoring before the Gryphons jumped out in front for the first time early in the second quarter, and the game returned to the teams taking turns scoring. With 3:14 left in the fourth quarter, the Badgers would take the lead before the Gryphons scored to tie it with 1:24. The wheels seemed to fall off for Guelph after that, as the Badgers would score two goals — the final goal coming with 11 seconds left — leading to a 16-14 Brock win.

The championship game between Brock and Western started off with the team in purple looking to take revenge for their two season losses. The Mustangs jumped out in front 3-0, and the Badgers couldn’t tie it until the start of the third quarter. However, late in that same quarter Western put up three unanswered goals before Brock would start the fourth with three consecutive goals of their own. Brock would get a lead in overtime before the momentum shifted to Western, who scored two late in the first overtime frame and clinched the title with the lone second overtime goal.

The Badgers were led by fifth-year offensive star Brandon Slade, who led the CUFLA with 55 assists and 83 points. Tyrus Rehanek had 13 goals and 32 assists for the season, with Kurtis Woodland adding 28 goals and 10 assists and Connor Ham scored 21 goals for the Badgers. First-year attacker Connor Brown led Brock in scoring with 29 goals.

Of the above group, Slade is the only graduated forward, meaning the Badgers are coming into 2018 with a majority of their 2017 roster. Also returning is defender Latrell Harris, who played for Canada this summer at the World Field Lacrosse Championships.

The Badgers will play an exhibition game, that could be a teaser to the Baggataway Cup, as they travel to London to play Western on September 7. The regular season for Brock begins on Sept. 15 at home versus Laurier.

Brock women’s lacrosse will begin their season this upcoming weekend as they travel to Queen’s to play the Gaels on Sept. 8 and UOIT on Sept. 9.

The women are coming off a 7-6 season, which saw them defeat McMaster in the playoffs but eventually lose to both Toronto and Trent. Last season, the Badgers were sixth in the OUA in both goals for and goals against.

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