California College Men’s Lacrosse: Chico State Men’s Lacrosse (3-9) Loses 15-13 to Sonoma State To Finish Season

The Chico State men’s lacrosse team concluded its season Saturday and much like many of the games this season, it was hard-fought, but the Wildcats would walk away the losing team.

The ’Cats suffered a defeat at the hands of the Sonoma State Seawolves, 15-13.

Chico State’s senior goalie Austin Raab gets twisted trying to defend a shot on goal against Sonoma State in the season finale Saturday.

Chico State finished with an overall record of 3-9 and with a league record of 1-5.

The lacrosse team belongs to the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League, which includes teams from Stanford, UC Berkeley and UC Davis among others.

Sonoma State, also a part of the WCLL, finished 2-10 overall and, like the Wildcats, their league record was 1-5.

After the game, Wildcats’ head coach Charlie Jackson was unhappy about the loss, but was still pleased with his team’s performance, he said.

“The score didn’t go the way we wanted it, but I thought we played with lots of heart,” Jackson said. “We came back from a five-goal deficit and showed a lot of character.”

Chico State never gave up, though they were down the entire game.

The Wildcats played enthusiastically by making runs, scoring stylishly and bringing fans to their feet.

With five minutes left to play and Chico State trailing 15-10, the Wildcats tried as hard as they could to close the gap, scoring three quick goals. Unfortunately it was too late.

Jackson hopes his young team matures for the upcoming season, he said.

“We’re very young and we’re only losing four seniors, so a lot of guys are going to have to grow up really fast for next year,” he said.

Seniors who played their last lacrosse game for Chico State include Joseph Zingali, Austin Raab, Chris Valenzuela and Kyle Quinlan.

Bryce Tavano, a business-finance major, is also graduating this spring, but still has one more year of eligibility. Still, Tavano is unsure if he is going to return after this season.

“Right now it’s tentative, I’m just taking it day-by-day,” he said.

Tavano embodies the style of play Wildcat lacrosse fans want to see in the future.

“I left everything out on the field,” he said. “I have no regrets.”

Unfortunately, the Wildcats closed a disappointing season with a loss at home, but Tavano knew it wasn’t going to be easy to beat the Seawolves, he said.

“We came out expecting a dog fight and that’s what it was,” Tavano said. “We played hard until the end, but they outplayed us.”

Seawolves head coach Dominic Gomez was also expecting a tough battle against Chico State, he said.

“Even though both of our records didn’t show how talented both teams were, we knew it was going to be a tough game,” Gomez said.

Through the game, a rambunctious crowd of Chico State fans taunted and harassed members of the opposite team, as is common during every home game.

After goals scored against Seawolves’ goalie Kevin O’Rourke, the wild crowd of fans would chant in unison, “Kevin, Kevin, Kevin, you suck!”
Gomez, however, was not perturbed by the taunts.

“I love the fans here, the heckling and all that stuff,” he said. “It’s a lot like our fans at Sonoma.”

The Chico State lacrosse games often get uncontrollably boisterous, but it adds to the appeal of the game, Gomez said.

“The fans get after it and it’s really cool,” he said. “We appreciate it. It’s a lot of fun to play under that sort of scrutiny.”

The Wildcats did not finish the season as they had expected, but they are looking forward to next season.

First year Chico State player Mark Rius will be returning next season and has a positive outlook for the lacrosse team’s future.

“Unfortunately we didn’t win as many games as we’d like to, but next year we’re going to be dirty,” Rius said.

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