A 17-7 loss at the hands of rival Westminster College Saturday afternoon in Grand Junction brings the season to its inevitable end for this talented Skyhawk lacrosse team. Playing their third game in as many days in brutal temperatures, missing a few players to commitments, and battling illness and injury, the short-handed Skyhawks never gave up, but they could not overcome a 7-0 deficit after the first quarter. A switch to a zone defense, and ball-control offense by Westminster slowed the pace of the game in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. Westminster showed that they deserved their #3 ranking as they capitalized on almost every Fort mistake, but the young Skyhawks squad was forced to press all game long after the tough start. Paul Larson (3goals), his brother Drew Larson (1g), and team MVP Grant Arthurs (3g) all tallied goals on some spectacular individual efforts in the game. The big loss means that the Fort will not be receiving a bid to play in the MCLA National Tournament next week.
As we said at the start of the year, “The Sky is the Limit,” and we did reach some lofty heights this year. A team that started five true freshmen all season, eight new players total, and won only six games last season, finishes with a 14-4 mark, a top 25 ranking, and a runner-up status in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference DII. It was a season of offensive domination for the Fort, as we had players lead the conference in regular season goals (Paul Larson), assists (Brian Lynch), points per game (Kevin Harkey), and also in penalty minutes (Drew Larson). Larson, Harkey, and Lynch finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th respectively in the final conference scoring stats, and Grant Arthurs finished 10th. All of the losses by the Fort were against teams that were ranked in the MCLA national top 20 at the time.
While the team graduates six seniors, the cupboard still looks to be quite full next season, as key players return at attack, midfield, defense, and goalie. Among the returners are 7 of the top 10 scorers on the team, and 5 All-Conference players, including 2 of 3 starting defensemen. The All-Conference awards for the RMLC heavily favored Westminster this year, befitting their #3 ranking, but the Skyhawks were well-represented (8 players honored), if under-awarded (only one 1st Team) for their efforts. Here are the team and conference awards for the Skyhawks:
Team MVP- Grant Arthurs
Defensive Player of the Year- Shaun Koenig
Co-Offensive Players of the Year- Kevin Harkey & Paul Larson
Kevin Harkey 1st Team All-Conference Attack
Paul Larson 2nd Team All-Conference Attack
Garrett Hooper 2nd Team All-Conference Defense
Brian Lynch 2nd Team All-Conference Midfield
Drew Larson 3rd Team All-Conference Defensive Midfield
Grant Arthurs Honorable Mention All-Conference Midfield
Mike Kelly Honorable Mention All-Conference Defense
Shaun Koenig Honorable Mention All-Conference Defense
Some final reflections on the 2012 Season:
This year saw the unveiling of some new trends and traditions for Fort Lax in my first year as head coach. Included in these traditions was the unveiling of new alternate jerseys with player names on them for several games. The word “fresh” was thrown around a lot this season as team gear also took on some exciting new looks this year. With the Warrior Electrik gloves favoring a sky blue dominant color, and custom feather helmet stripes that compliment the Skyhawk name and Native American traditions, the first steps were taken in branding Fort Lax as the best looking program in the game. The “F-Wreath” logo introduced by senior Josh deGuzman also proved to be a huge hit around campus, as it complimented the black and white of the “Fort Hopkins” color scheme of the team practice pack, and can be seen on all types of shirts. This was the first year that players had a post-season “Roast” where good natured zingers were tossed around to celebrate the season’s many inside jokes, even the coaches got burned by the quick witted team. New offenses and defenses, and new terminology were in abundance for the team this season, as the team worked to build a team that was ready for playoffs, which worked out pretty well in the end. Team managers also took on a much greater role, as manager Hana Mohsin’s photography made the team’s facebook page a huge hit, manager Caitlin Sheeran also brought the team stat keeping up a notch and controlled the scorer’s table with authority, and Keith Winchester’s film skills as the team intern helped make the team study halls a productive time. From the team email list to the Alumni Hall of Fame, the Valentine’s Date Auction, to player photos on the MCLA website, there was so much to be excited about with this year’s team. As the team knows, I am very open to new ideas, new ways of doing things, but I am glad we found so many things that worked out for the team this year.
Thank you to everyone who joined us on this wild ride, next year should bring even more excitement, and hopefully a RMLC Championship and a trip to Nationals to go with it!
Cheers to a great 2012 season, and to making 2013 even better!
-Coach Daniel Riecks