The first time is always the sweetest.
First-year Ragin’ Cajuns Lacrosse head coach Jefferson Nichol acknowledged that tried-and-true saying at Wednesday night’s practice as the Cajuns prepared for their semifinal matchup against Oklahoma State this weekend in the Lone Star Alliance Division II conference tournament.
The whole team is well aware they are just two games away from being crowned LSA conference champions. This will be the first time the team would be conference champs since the club’s conception in 2011.
“No matter how many times it gets done, (this team) is always going to be the first,” Nichol said.
So long as the No. 1 seeded Cajuns take care of business this weekend, Nichol’s team will have the pleasure of seeing their names engraved in the history books, with the possibility to go one step further.
Under normal circumstances, the winner of the LSA would receive an automatic bid to be one of the 16 teams invited to the MCLA’s National Championship, but this year is a little different.
Oklahoma State, last year’s LSA Division II conference champions, declined their bid, citing financial issues, said Bynes Tatford, founder of the lacrosse club and defenseman in his final year of eligibility. Per league rules, the LSA champions this year will not receive an automatic bid and will have to make a case for themselves with exemplary performance on the field.
“Needless to say, we’re pretty bitter about (LSA losing their automatic qualifier),” said Tatford. “So we’ve got a lot to prove when we play Oklahoma State on Saturday. They are one of the best teams out of the North Side of the LSA.”
Nick Midboe, attackman for the Cajuns, said this controversy makes Oklahoma State the ideal first postseason competitor.
“We tried to schedule them (in the regular season),” Midboe explained, “but they wouldn’t schedule us for whatever reason. They came up with a couple of excuses or whatever. It’s actually kind of funny because all season long we were saying, ‘I wish we could play those guys, I wish we could play those guys.’”
A victory against the No. 2 seeded Cowboys from the North Division would land them in the conference finals against the winner of the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Then? A possible chance at a National Championship.