Warriors prepare to take on Seawolves in week 16
HERRIMAN — The overall feeling amongst Utah Warriors players and coaches changed recently, and that’s a good thing.
As the Warriors prepare to take on the Seattle Seawolves for the second time this season, Warriors coach Greg Cooper took time to reflect on his team’s thrilling 41-35 win over the Seawolves back on April 15. The win topped off a remarkable four-game win streak which included wins over top opponents such as the New England Free Jacks and Houston SaberCats.
None of the four wins came easy with Utah having to overcome injury issues and other challenges, although it was able to rise above all of it.
“I think we showed how good we can be, and then signs that we still have room for growth and development,” Cooper said. “We grew up in a lot of aspects…I think that Seattle game showed some glimpses of how good we can be.”
How good Utah can be is a team that can contend and certainly come out on top against the MLR’s top teams — a fact not lost on the players, but perhaps emphasized when the Warriors secured the third place spot in the Western Conference standings following a win over Houston two weeks prior.
“I think there was a bit of a switch when we drew even with Houston on the points table,” Cooper said. “It was like we knew we were playing good rugby, but we’re still fourth…But then a switch came when we got that third spot, and now we have to really perform.”
The significance of holding the third spot in the standings involves the top three teams in each conference advancing to the MLR playoffs, and even though Utah currently holds on to that third spot, maintaining it won’t be easy. As mentioned, the Warriors are even with the SaberCats in point total, with 43 a piece, although Utah owns the tiebreaker due to its nine wins on the season opposed to Houston’s eight.
Razor thin in the margin, however, and with the likes of Seattle on the docket, maintaining that third spot won’t be easy.
“Many things can happen. We still have to play 240 minutes of rugby and Houston still has to play 240 minutes, so we will respect every opposition we’re up against and obviously Seattle is a very, very good opponent,” Cooper said.
Indeed the Seawolves have a firm grasp on second place in the Western Conference with 54 total points and an 11-2 record. They’ve compiled as much due to consistent play and oftentimes overwhelming opponents with their stingy defense coupled with good offensive firepower.
But Utah knows it can not only hang with the Seawolves, but beat them should it put forth a good performance.
“We’re just focused on us,” Cooper said of his team’s mentality for this week’s match and for every match for the rest of the regular season. “We’re in a position where we can determine our destiny. Yes, the road isn’t easy, but I think the one thing we’ve shown this year is that when we’re under pressure we play pretty well and have responded.”
UTAH WARRIORS VS. SEATTLE SEAWOLVES
DATE: SUNDAY, JUNE 4
TIME: 8:30 PM MT
WHERE: STARFIRE SPORTS COMPLEX, TUKWILA, WA.
BROADCAST: KMYU, TRN, 92.1 KOOL FM, ESPN960, ESPN700, KSLSPORTS.COM
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