Welcome to the 2023 Edition of the Utah Lax Report
While there may be snow covering the ground still in Utah, the spring lacrosse season is right around the corner and much like the changes in weather that come with the spring season, so come changes here at ULR. Our fearless leader founder and editor-in-chief Tim Haslam has moved on to greater opportunities as the Director of Operations for Utah Lacrosse under the direction of second-year head coach Drew McMinn. We will miss his immense talents and his unmatched knowledge and passion for the local lacrosse scene and he will always be one call or one text away as this new era of local lacrosse coverage begins, something this incoming team of replacements will be taking full advantage of as we cover the 2023 season. We know you will miss his excellent coverage as well, and so we’ve hit the recruiting trail in an effort to try and replace as best we can everything that Tim has done for ULR and wish him all the luck in his new role.
For those who have been subscribed previously, you’ll be excited to hear that Kenzie Christiansen is returning as the anchor of our Women’s coverage. In addition to her duties as a contributor to the newsletter, Kenzie will also continue calling games for KSL Sports Rewind as part of their streaming coverage. Additionally, Dane Stewart will be joining us as a contributor for the season while continuing his outstanding coverage calling games for Rewind as well. Continuing the Rewind-ULR co-op is Bryan Brown, who will be handling the bulk of the newsletter duties in place of Tim. Bryan has spent most of the last five years covering Utah Athletics and just finished his first season as a color analyst with Rewind for the high school football season. He is looking forward to getting back to his roots as he and Tim formed a mean defense line in high school at Highland together, and will be joining Dane Stewart on the calls for boys games on Rewind. Forgive him if on occasion he drops some football vernacular on here, old habits can be hard to kick.
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Luckily we will continue to have the best video team in the state as the ULR video crew of Patrick Sanger, Jeff Guckert and Max Sturgill remain onboard to bring you all the great video and social media posts you’ve seen in the past. If you haven’t already, give our Instagram a follow here as we are excited to introduce a variety of new aspects and graphics in the coming weeks. With over 4000 followers, it is clear the community has never been stronger or more robust, and we look forward to catering to that hunger as best we can. If you have any interest in learning about potential sponsorship opportunities or finding ways to help grow the game and your business, please feel free to reach out to Bryan or Patrick via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Our relationship with Rewind brings an added dimension and scope that is unrivaled, and we would love to find ways to help more be involved and further expand that coverage.
With the business out of the way, we want to kick off this season of coverage with college previews of both Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse at the University of Utah. Here’s Dane Stewart with a preview of the Utes Men’s Lacrosse Team.
Head Coach Drew McMinn starts his second year leading the helm of Utah Lacrosse in 2023. The ASUN Coach of the Year in 2022 is back at it for Utah after the most successful season in program history, winning the ASUN in its first season in the conference and finishing the season with a Top 25 ranking.
The 2023 Utah Utes return a majority of their major contributors from last year’s team, including their leader in points (Tyler Bradbury), goals (Jordan Hyde), and faceoff man in Cole Brams. In addition to returning category leaders, Utah also boasts the ASUN Preseason Midfielder of the Year Josh Rose, Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Samuel Cambere, and Tyler Bradbury who was selected to the preseason all-conference team.
Despite returning a significant number of starters and contributors from the field, the Utes will see a change in the cage. Zion DeChesere has moved on after a successful year where he had a .498 save percentage. Zack Johns, who saw action between the pipes in 4 games last year, comes back, as does Connor Hollison who is the only other goalie to have logged minutes last year amongst goalies on the roster. Utah also has highly recruited Conor O’Neill in the wings as a Redshirt Freshman as well as Freshman Colin Lenskold. While the group hasn’t logged significant minutes in game action, there is plenty of talent ready to take the field.
Utah will kick off the season on Saturday, February 4 as they travel to take on Denver. Utah will return home on Saturday, February 11 to kick off its home slate at Rice-Eccles Stadium when they host Marquette. The non-conference 2023 season will test the Utes, as three of its five games are against teams finishing in the top-20 last year, including powers Johns Hopkins and Rutgers.
In 2022 Utah kicked off the season by hosting Denver and fell 14-13 to the No. 12 ranked Pioneers. It was a game that helped set the tone for the Utes as they would register wins over ranked Vermont and Jacksonville. Utah took a 7-game winning streak to the ASUN Championship game where they fell in overtime to Robert Morris, 18-17, falling just short of a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
(Home Games played at Ute Field, unless otherwise designated)
**Indicates ASUN conference game
Feb 4: @ Denver
Feb 11: vs Marquette (Rice-Eccles Stadium)
Feb 18: vs Vermont (Zions Bank Stadium)
Feb 25: @ Johns Hopkins
Mar 4: @ Rutgers
Mar 18: vs Bellarmine**
Mar 25: @ Detroit Mercy**
Mar 29: @ Air Force**
Mar 31: vs Jacksonville**
Apr 8: @ Robert Morris**
Apr 12: vs Lindenwood**
Apr 15: vs Mercer**
Apr 22: vs Cleveland State**
Apr 29: @ Queens College of Charlotte**
May 2: ASUN Tournament
Here’s the University of Utah Women’s Lacrosse preview from Kenzie Christiansen
Leading the University of Utah Women’s Lacrosse team into the 2023 season is Head Coach Courtney Johnson. Johnson has a team of assistants in Assistant Coach Wes Allen, and Assistant Coach Whitney Davidson to aid her as she prepares her squad for competition.
Who is Head Coach Courtney Johnson? Johnson started her lacrosse career as a Freshman in High School. Johnson followed her lacrosse dreams by playing at DIII NCAA Messiah University, in Central Pennsylvania. During her college career she received the awards, “Rookie of the Year” and “Second -Team All American” After these great accomplishments Johnson continued to play club and Women’s Summer League while she attended graduate school. Coach Johnson started her coaching career with assisting at summer lacrosse camps throughout her time at the University. Coach Johnson accepted the Head Coaching position in Fall of 2021 and was thrilled to be offered the position after only living here in Utah for a year.
Assistant Coach Wes Allen, began coaching in a more unique way than most. Allen started his coaching career as a “ball-shagging” parent, which developed into voluntary coaching, then progressed to assistant coach at the youth level, high school assistant JV coach, assistant varsity coach and finally varsity head coach. Coach Allen led Herriman Class of 2019 into winning the State Championship title. Coach Allen has had many successful players throughout his years of coaching, including his two daughters. Allen’s inspiration, knowledge and biggest supporters come from his two girls. “My oldest daughter has taught me that often heart, gut and inspiration are more important than technique and athleticism. My youngest daughter has taught me that lacrosse can be a way of life and that this sport, growing as it is, can provide a college education and be played for years after high school. Together they have taught me that while both play the same sport, they each do it for their own reasons, and they each bring their own individual qualities and strengths. That has helped me on the field as a coach to recognize that each of our players is an individual and I try to customize their experience to their “Why” and to the unique qualities that they bring to our team." Said Allen. Coach Wes Allen is known to be a strong and talented coach here in Utah and is admired by many.
Assistant Coach Whitney Davidson, kick started her lacrosse playing career later than most, as a sophomore in high school in Reno Nevada. At the time Davidson started lacrosse it was just entering her town as a rec sport with huge learning potential. Davidson went to the University of Utah and played on the Utes Womens Lacrosse team. During her time at Utah her teammates became her best friends, she stayed active and continued to play the game she loved. Davidson's love and passion in goal drove her in a successful career as a goalie of 8 years. “I couldn't be more thankful for everything the University of Utah program gave me. One of my biggest inspirations and mentors in life was my head coach, Glee Corsetti, for 4 of those 5 years playing at the U. She is the reason I am coaching now and helping out with the University of Utah Women's lacrosse team.” Stated Davidson. Coach Davidson 's coaching career began as the head coach of the Park City Girls Lacrosse 7/8th grade team. The opportunity of assistant varsity coach at Olympus High School came to her shortly after. During her time at Olympus, she had the pleasure of working with former teammates from the U and assisted Olympus in becoming 5A State Champions. “Coaching is a great outlet for me, and I love interacting with all of the athletes and I hope to be a good support system, friend, and coach all in one. Being able to coach at the school I played for, and for a program I put a lot of work into, is super special. I love getting the chance to hangout with and coach the lovely ladies that walk through this program, in hopes that they get everything out of it that I did too. Go Utes!!"said Davidson.
As the University of Utah Women’s Lacrosse spent time reflecting on the past seasons, they learned to build off each other's abilities and talents while working as a team and not as individuals. Also, the coaches brought a functioning balance to practice, games and the team as a whole. As the Utes proceed into Spring 2023 their bench is deep with young athletes that will bring greatness to the program overall. The coaches have come together to work out any first year coaching staff kinks, which will bring strength, great leaders, and the ability to set new goals along with breaking records this Spring season. Speaking with Captain Morgan Harris she states that one of their goals is… “We would love to redeem our triple OT loss to BYU in regionals by winning the RMWLL conference and make it back to nationals in Virginia.” A team focus this season is to end with no injuries and focus on strength training and taking care of themselves to ensure that all athletes stay healthy.
Sandstorm Lacrosse Tournament
Here’s an update from the Sandstorm Lacrosse Tournament at Empire Polo Grounds from over the weekend courtesy of our own Kenzie Christiansen.
Utah Hive LC: Competition team Davis County Utah.
Pre-tournament statement: “Utah Hive LC, is ready for the competition that Sandstorm offers. We have been working hard with twice a week practices and really dialing in on what we want to achieve. As coaches, we have been preparing the girls to be successful while having fun. We want to give our seniors the best last tournament send off and provide them with memories of Utah Hive LC that will last a lifetime.” - Coach Lauren Pescetti
Post-tournament statement: “As a coach, you can’t ask for anything more than what the players gave this weekend. They played every game with heart, passion and integrity. We finished the tournament with a record of 5 - 0 (Bracket play) and our first and only defeat this season in the semi-finals. Our girls learned a lot and made memories and friendships that they will carry with them throughout life. It was my honor to lead them this weekend and this season.”- Coach Lauren Pescetti
For any question on future season/events email, GirlsUtahHive@gmail.com
Force Lacrosse : Competition team from Salt Lake County Utah.
“Sandstorm is the end of our club season so we want to make sure that everyone has a fun and memorable experience. Especially the seniors. We have been practicing once a week for the past few weeks and our kids are ready to go. At this point in the season they all know and trust each other and because of this we usually do quite well at Sandstorm.
It certainly is a bittersweet tournament for our players and coaches as this will be the last time we will play with these seniors as it is every season at Sandstorm.” - Director Matt Kenning
Force lacrosse went out with 2 great wins over LA United and Coast HS Rising 23/24! With 2 / 5 games dominated Force had an amazing experience and can not wait to kick start the Summer 2023 season.
For any question on future season/events email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tenacity Lacrosse 28/29 : Utah and California National team.
“Tenacity 28/29 National team “we’ve had a long gap in between Sandstorm and our last tournament. We really rely on our players putting in the time on their own to hone in their individual skills. I know the coaching staff for this team is particularly looking forward to the individual improvement of our players and how that comes together to create a solid team dynamic.” - Coach Mady Cunningham
Tenacity 28/29 National team had a fun and memorable weekend with 3 Loses and 3 ties. They grew their bond with every play and every game.
For any question on future season/events email, email@example.com
Utah Elevate Lacrosse: Salt Lake County.
“Elevate had a great time at Sandstorm! We took 20 players, mostly current sophomores, who have been growing a TON this fall. We won 4 and lost 1 to Seattle Crash, 6-4 in our very first game. If only we could play them again! We had the fewest goals against in the entire division, with only 9 goals against us. Our defense played beautifully together starting from the offensive ride all the way to our senior goalie, Zoe Garside, who had 2 shutout games! Another highlight was our game against True California when the score was 11-0 and we had EIGHT different players score. Our last highlight was our last game against DCC Red, the score was 10-0 with 8 of those goals being assisted! We played fun, with high energy, lots of good team play and played ELEVATE lacrosse. We already can't wait for next year!” - Coach Mellisa Nash.
For any question on future season/events email, firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll continue to preview the College scene over the next few weeks in addition to introducing some of the new faces at different places from the prep side of things as we count down the weeks until the very first coaches poll. We appreciate the community here so much and also look forward to introducing you to our staff even more as we prep for what should be one of the best seasons of lacrosse in state history! As always, stay safe out there and we’ll see you on the sidelines!!!
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