The Fort Lewis Skyhawks Men’s Lacrosse Club finally tasted defeat after more than a month of undefeated lacrosse. A 23-3 loss to Westminster College in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference (RMLC) Championship Game does not tell the whole story of this year’s exciting and special team. A 9-9 record on the season may not look that great on paper, but it is very impressive considering the circumstances, and even more impressive with the quality of play the Skyhawks exhibited at the end of their season. Here is the Cliffs Notes version of the season, starting at the end:
Westminster College, ranked #2 in the nation, showed that they are ready to make the move to MCLA Division I by rolling over every conference opponent by at least 10 goals on the way to their 5th RMLC DII championship in their 7 years in the conference. Playing their 3rd game in 3 days, the Fort had a very slim chance of victory after losing starting attackman Tom Rosenbaugh to injury, and defenseman TJ Trump to school commitments, bringing the FLC roster down to 15 players. The Skyhawks left it all out on the field, but were out of gas right from the start. Westminster will be the only RMLC team representing DII in the MCLA National Championship tournament. This was the second year the Skyhawks finished as conference runner-up, and 4th in the past 7 years. A strong finish, but we are looking forward to a more balanced bracket next season with Westminster’s departure.
In the semifinals on Friday afternoon, the Fort took over a tight game in the second half and ended up with a 13-7 victory over Montana State in a rematch of the 2012 semifinals. Due to injuries, the Skyhawks had to rotate attackmen and midfielders, and play the best defensive game of their careers in order to steal the game. Inspired by Tom Rosenbaugh’s injury, and goalie Chris Sowder’s remarkable 21 saves (75%), the Fort turned a 3-3 halftime tie into the most impressive victory of a long season. Montana St. played hard, but they had no chance against a hot goalie and a spectacular defensive effort.
The previous 8 wins have been well documented on this website, and can be found in the archives section if you want to read more about them. A change in altitude, and a change in attitude went a long way to making this season great.
The Skyhawks did quite well in the Conference Awards this season:
Grant Arthurs, 1st team All-RMLC Midfield, and 1st team All-RMLC Faceoff Specialist. Grant leads the nation with 198 ground balls, and is 9th in points with 40 Goals and 44 Assists. He took almost 300 faceoffs this season and won 58% of those. He has my vote for All-American, I hope the rest of the nation takes note.
Max Segal, 1st team All-RMLC Attack, and RMLC DII Rookie of the Year. Max finished 4th in the nation in scoring with 92 points, and led the nation in goals with 64. He made the move to attack after playing midfield in high school, and has a bright career ahead of him.
Shaun Koenig, 1st team All-RMLC Defense. Shaun led all vote getters at the position, and is eligible for Academic All-American recognition as well. Opposing coaches said that Shaun was the most intimidating player they faced all year, their attackmen were afraid to go against him because he forced so many turnovers.
Alex Sowers, 2nd team All-RMLC Attack. Alex finished 28th in the MCLA with 61 points (32G, 29A) after switching from midfield to attack this year. Several RMLC coaches said that Alex was the hardest player to stop this year because of his quick finishing ability, great speed, and unselfish play.
Brooks Wilcox, 2nd team All-RMLC Defensive Midfield. Although Brooks was an offensive force this season with 8 goals and 5 assists, he got recognition for being one of the best short-stick defenders in the conference, and for having a reputation for coming up with timely faceoff wins and lots of ground balls.
Drew Larson, 3rd team All-RMLC Defense. The Senior captain of the Skyhawks, Drew is receiving an All-RMLC honor for the fourth time in 4 years, ech time at a different position. 2010 LSM, 2011 Faceoff Specialist, 2012 Defensive Midfield, and now as a Defenseman. Drew has done it all, done it with a smile, and done it with flair for the Skyhawks. He will be missed, and leave big shoes to fill.
Every season is exciting, the Skyhawks pride themselves on being fun to watch. So follow us next year, and stay tuned this summer for updates on Summer tournaments, fundraising events, and Alumni Game voting results. Turning around a tough start to finish at the top again is something that won’t be forgotten for a long time. Thanks for the long and wonderful ride, see you in 2014!!