Utah LAX Opens 2021 Slate at No. 5 Denver
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SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah lacrosse season is finally here as the Utes open up the 2021 slate with a battle against Inside Lacrosse preseason No. 5 Denver this Saturday, Jan. 30, at 1 p.m. inside Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
YOUNG GUNS TAKE THE FIELD
Heading into the 2021 season, Utah will sport 25 freshmen on the team and 17 sophomores thanks to spring sports getting their eligibility back from the 2020 season. The two upperclassmen for Utah are fifth-year senior Dan Tracy and graduate transfer Harrison Nye (Westminster).
Utah returns just 21-percent of its offense this season with just 16 goals scored between six players. MJ McMahon and Branden Wilson lead the group of returners with each having scored five goals last season while Wilson edged out McMahon with six points thanks to an assist against Air Force.
The Utes will be one of the most well-traveled teams in college lacrosse this season, totaling in over 30,000 frequent flier miles this season between its nine road games – eight of which are located on the east coast. The closest game for the Utes will be their season-opener against #5 Denver.
AYE AYE CAPTAIN
As fall ball wrapped up for Utah, the players voted and selected Samuel Cambere, Rylan Lemons and Jonathan Rose as their captains for the 2021 campaign.
Cambere enters his third year with the Utes having started in 15-of-21 games and has totaled nine points (4g, 5a) to go with 80 groundballs, 30 caused turnovers and five faceoff victories. The Flower Mound, Texas, product was named a College Crosse All-Freshman Second-Team honoree after solid first season with the Utes.
Like Cambere, Lemons also plays on the defensive side of the ball for the Utes. The Windsor, Colo., native saw action in 14 games so far in a Utah uniform and has recorded 11 groundballs and one caused turnover to go with his lone assists last season.
Last, but not least, is Rose – who plays on the offensive side of things as a midfielder. The elder of the Rose brothers on the team, has seen action in 19 career games. Hailing from Atlanta, Ga., Rose has posted 11 groundballs with three caused turnovers to go with one goal to his name so far.
The 2020 season came to a screeching halt on March 13, when the entire sports world shut down due to COVID-19. The Utes, who were in their second season as a Division I program, sat at 3-3 on the year. Through six games, Utah was on pace to surpass all the offensive numbers from its inaugural season in 2019. As a team, the Utes scored 77 goals while dishing out 46 assists for a total of 123 points with eight games remaining on their schedule.
Colin Burke led the team offensively last season, posting 32 points (15g, 17a) while Jimmy Perkins had 21 points (18g, 3a) for Utah. Mac Costin (11g, 1a) and Josh Stout (5g, 7a) each had 12 points apiece to round out the list of players with double-digit points.
Sammy Cambere led the defense with 10 caused turnovers and 28 ground balls, second only to Cole Brams – who led the team with 37. Brams was also Utah's faceoff man, winning 78-of-149 (.523) opportunities last season. Seth Neeleman was also active on the field for the Utes, grabbing 20 ground balls.
Liam Donnelly held it down for the Utes between the pipes, clocking 268:39 minutes of action with 59 saves while Zion Dechesere saw action in four games with 18 saves in 92:31 minutes in goal.
Academics and being a student-athlete continues to be a pillar for the Utah lacrosse team as it finished the 2020 fall semester with a 3.34 team GPA despite all the abnormalities thanks to COVID-19. In addition, five players earned a perfect 4.0 GPA while 34 players earned AD Honor Rolle distinction with a 3.0 GPA or better. Of the 34, 20 earned Dean's List honors with GPAs at 3.5 or higher.
BURKE MAKES HISTORY
Former Ute Colin Burke became the first Utah Lacrosse player drafted on May 4, 2020, after being selected third overall in the 2020 Major League Lacrosse draft by the New York Lizards.
In the shortened season, Burke led Utah and ranked in the top-20 nationally with 31 points and 16 assists. He ranked tied for 12th in Division I with 2.67 assists per game and was tied for 15th with 5.17 points per game. Burke was also second on the team with 15 goals. He had a season-high eight points against Furman, which included a season-high four goals, and he had a season-high four assists four different times during the year (Bellarmine, Lehigh, Furman, Jacksonville).
Burke transferred to Utah from Fairfield, where he played from 2016-18. His accolades included USILA All-American Honorable Mention in 2016, 2016 CAA Co-Player of the Year, 2016 CAA Rookie of the Year and two-time All-CAA - including first-team honors as a freshman. Burke led the team in points all three seasons as well.