Homefield heroics fuel furious Fort finish

Trailing 8-13 going into the 4th quarter against a RMLC DI opponent, the Utah St. Aggies, the Skyhawks found some heart (and the back of the net) to salvage a victory in their first home game of the season.  9 fourth quarter goals, shut down efforts in the clearing game and defense, and faceoff domination by freshman Grant Arthurs made the dramatic 17-14 win possible.  In the end, the depth of the Fort Lewis bench proved too much for the scrappy Utah St. Aggies who have been short-handed since a string of unfortunate injuries.  The Fort would not be denied on their home field, finally thawed out and ready after months of snow.  It took awhile, but the Skyhawks eventually thawed out their cold shooting and finished with pride.  Senior Kevin Harkey received the game ball for his 8 goal effort in leading the Skyhawk offense, 10 players had points on the day for the Fort. 

Shut out in the first quarter 0-4, the Skyhawks appeared to have no answer for the strong midfield shooting of Utah St, or the outstanding play of USU goalie Tyler Andrews (25 saves).  After freshman midfielder Brian Lynch moved to attack in the 2nd quarter, he quickly broke the seal and got Fort Lewis on the board with an explosive dodge around the crease.  Kevin Harkey proceeded to score the next 4 Skyhawk goals with blistering shots, but the Fort still found itself trailing at the half 8-5.

Despite taking 49 shots through the first 3 quarters of play, winning the majority of faceoffs, and forcing multiple turnovers, the Fort couldn’t open the floodgates and found themselves trailing big going into the decisive fourth quarter.  It took another 18 shots for the Skyhawks to put in 9 goals as Grant Arthurs (2g, 3a, 17 of 21 faceoffs won), Paul Larson (3g), and Kevin Harkey (8g) sparked the comeback with several highlight real shots and hustle plays. 

Complete game stats at http://mcla.us

As a coach, it is not easy to handle a game in which an opposing goalie steals the show, or to convince a team that a big comeback is possible “one goal at a time.”  The truth is that momentum can be everything in lacrosse.  A three goal run can be stopped by an effective timeout, a dominant faceoff man can make an opposing comeback impossible.  It is a real testament to the maturity of this young Skyhawk team that they didn’t let their emotions control the game.  They didn’t begin committing penalties, they built eachother up when they needed to rally together, and they put extra focus on the quality of their shots at the end when they needed it.  Home is where the heart is, so they say, it was nice to see the guys find their heart, wear it on their sleeves, and put it on display for the hometown crowd.  These types of games will give a young coach grey hair, but they can sure be fun to watch sometimes.

Thanks to all of our fans who came out in support of the team, the families who made the trip out to see your sons play, and all of the support staff that makes these home games possible.  Also, congratulations to Durango High School Boy’s Lacrosse for their 7-6 victory over Eagle Valley earlier in the day.  (I am also the assistant coach for them, and I’m extremely proud of their effort!)

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