The Montana men’s lacrosse team has faced adversity during this year’s roller coaster ride of a regular-season. The Grizzlies plan to use that adversity as confidence heading into the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League conference tournament in Missoula on April 26-28.
No. 13 Montana solidified the first seed in the North division after finishing the season with a 4-0 record in divisional play and an overall record of 8-5. The Grizzlies have only lost to No. 6 College of Idaho, No. 7 St. John’s, No.8 North Dakota State, No. 11 Montana State and DI program, University of Idaho.
The Grizzlies managed to turn things around after four straight losses resulted in a 1-4 start to the season. Montana finished the year on a 7-1 run after its 20-10 loss against College of Idaho on March 10, with its only loss coming from Montana State down the stretch on April 6.
“The energy and morale levels were down after that Montana State game,” Head coach Tucker Sargent said. “That game means so much to people and to lose that game was tough, the idea was to pick ourselves back up.”
“There is a lot of lacrosse left, that’s what the team needs to recognize,” Sargent said after the last regular season game. “We can’t worry about what happened in the past, we need to focus on what we’re going to do moving forward.”
Spring break brought the next wave of nationally ranked opponents. Montana traveled to San Diego, Calif., to play three games against University of California-San Marcos (previously ranked nationally), No 17 University of San Diego and No. 10 UC Davis. After a 6-5 overtime thriller against San Diego, Montana was able to head back to Missoula with three straight wins against top-25 opponents.
The Grizzlies have demonstrated dominance among the other teams within its division. Montana has outscored Central Washington, Gonzaga and Western Washington 44-14.
Montana lost out on three games this season. The Grizzlies planned to have a 16-game regular-season, but was shortened to 13-games after Portland State and University of Providence dismantled early in the season. Seattle University forfeited its game against Montana, a matchup that was supposed to end the Grizzlies’ regular season.
The team’s Most Valuable Player this season was presented to senior mid-defenseman Nolan Davis. The Helena-native racked up 47 ground balls and managed three points (two goals, one assist).
“You just don’t see guys play short-stick defense at a level of which this man has played,” Sargent said. “It’s easy to give this award out to someone who has the most points because that’s what wins games, but what else wins games is lockdown defense.”
Junior Aidan Larson was awarded team Offensive Player of the Year after leading the offense with 42 points (29 goals, 13 assists). Senior defenseman Davis Wylie was named team Defensive Player of the Year. The six-foot-four inch defender picked up 39 ground balls, and is an aggressive lockdown, stay-at-home player.
Defenseman Zev Revis, the San Anselmo, Calif., native won team Rookie of the Year honors for his efforts this season. Revis scooped up 51 ground balls and managed a goal with two assists. Not only can Revis stay on a defender like white on rice, but can also be an asset when it comes to clearing the ball, transitioning from defense to offense.
Sophomore attackmen Jimmy Pierce and Miguel Generoso were the two other players who made an impact on the offensive side of the ball. Generoso and Pierce combined for a total of 47 goals. Generoso recorded 18 assists and Pierce tallied nine.
Senior goalkeeper Drew Moesel wrapped up his regular-season with a 63 percent save percentage. Moesel has made 189 saves and allowed 112 goals this season. In his four years, Moesel has recorded 839 saves in 61 games.
Montana will host the conference tournament this year and will play either Western Oregon or Gonzaga in the semi-finals on April 27, at 1 p.m.
Lucas Ailport— Media Relations