The University of Texas and Arizona State University will meet in the second annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Lacrosse Classic on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 at Pan Am Stadium. The sixth annual Allstate Sugar Bowl High School Lacrosse Classic will be played in January. Last year’s high school tournament was the first to feature a collegiate club match as Texas defeated Florida State, 12-11, this past January.
“We’re very excited to welcome the University of Texas back to New Orleans and are looking forward to bringing Arizona State to town this spring as well,” said Paul Hoolahan, Chief Executive Officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. “Lacrosse is an up-and-coming sport in Louisiana and is gaining popularity across the country. We’re proud to be a part of building exposure for the sport through our sponsorship of both high school and collegiate competition in New Orleans.”
Arizona State was ranked No. 2 in the final Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) poll for 2011. The Sun Devils have finished second in the MCLA National Championship in each of the last two seasons, advancing to the finals last year after upending top-seeded Michigan – a team which is moving to the NCAA Division I ranks for 2012. A two-time All-American midfielder at Maryland and a former top-10 draft pick by Major League Lacrosse, Arizona State head coach Chris Malone saw four Sun Devil players earn All-America recognition in 2011, as well as four more honorable mention All-Americans.
Texas, meanwhile, finished at No. 10 in the final MCLA poll, after recording an undefeated regular season (including the 12-11 win over Florida State in New Orleans) and winning the Lone Star Alliance (LSA). Longhorns’ head coach Brian Meyers, a former first-team All-America midfielder at Towson University, was selected as the LSA Coach of the Year, while Jordan Lee (pictured right with Sugar Bowl Committee member Warren Montgomery), the Defensive MVP of the 2011 Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Lacrosse Classic, was a first-team all-conference selection.
The inaugural Allstate Sugar Bowl high school lacrosse event in 2007 had eight teams participating. Since that time, the Classic has grown to a capacity slate of nearly 30 teams. Recognized as one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States, lacrosse has seen youth participation grow over 500 percent since 1999 to nearly 250,000. No sport has grown faster at the high school level over the last 10 years and there are now an estimated 200,000 high school players. The sport is also growing fast in Louisiana, which had seven high school teams in 2008 and has grown to 19 teams scheduled to compete in 2012. The high-speed game is also a fan favorite, drawing crowds of as many as 50,000 for NCAA Final Four games.
The dominant team in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Lacrosse Classic’s brief history has been Klein High School from Houston, which captured the first four titles. However, in the 2011 event, St. Thomas More, from Lafayette, La., broke the Klein stranglehold with a 9-3 victory over Jesuit of New Orleans in the championship – a rematch of the 2010 Louisiana High School Lacrosse Championship match. The Blue Jays, from Jesuit, had earlier foiled Klein’s quest for a fifth straight title with a 4-3 victory in the quarterfinals.
For more information about the Allstate Sugar Bowl and its many community events, please log on to its website www.allstatesugarbowl.org.