Rolling off the bus and playing a lacrosse game is hard. Doing it after a week and a half off since the end of school is harder. Even harder still is making that game a playoff game. Fort Lax moved their winning streak to 8 games with an impressive 15-10 victory over the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers in Grand Junction last night. Mines was the first win for the Skyhawks this season, and proved much tougher this time around after getting back some key players from injuries and getting their own much needed rest. Today, the Fort gets a rematch against the Montana St. Bobcats, the #1 seed from the tightly contested RMLC East division. The Bobcats had a bye in the first round yesterday. Start time is at 1:00pm, and the winner will play in the RMLC championship game tomorrow at 3:00pm against the winner of UNC-Westminster.
The Fort struck early, but Mines showed determination and scrappy hustle, as well as some excellent transition offense in the first quarter. A 5-4 Skyhawk lead after one period was led Max Segal and Alex Sowers who each had a goal and 2 assists in the quarter, as possession time was not the Fort’s biggest problem. The defense tightened up in the second quarter, as they managed to hold Mines to just one goal, while Max Segal added 2 more to send the Fort into halftime up 7-5. At halftime, the Skyhawks were clearly a frustrated team, as they expected to come out still firing on all cylinders. Young men learn quickly that playoff time is like finals, it’s do or die, and opponents don’t just give up.
The second half saw more outstanding defense from the Skyhawks, but it was tarnished at times by a rash of penalties. The 3rd quarter ended even at 2 goals a piece, 9-7 Skyhawks lead. Mines outshot and generally outplayed the Fort in the quarter, but the depth of the Fort played a key role with points coming from Chris Shoptaugh and Tom Rosenbaugh to keep Mines on the defensive. You can’t teach clutch, but Lord knows I’ve tried, and the Skyhawks seem to have it down already. Max Segal’s dominating ride and spectacular shooting, along with multiple assists from Grant Arthurs and Alex Sowers sparked a 6 goal fourth quarter explosion for FLC. Goalie Chris Sowder helped to turn the tide with two huge saves during a tricky 2-man down penalty situation that the Fort managed to kill off. The Skyhawks finished with assists on 14 of 15 goals and getting points from 8 different players, showing that they haven’t lost the team game that got them here.
Can this young Skyhawks squad find the maturity to match last year’s victory over Montana State? Only one way to tell, let’s play ball!