By: Lucas Ailport
It was obvious that the Montana men’s lacrosse team was antsy to finally play a game after a relentless 25-3 win over the University of Portland on Feb. 10.
The team was supposed to play Portland State the day before on Feb. 9 but the Vikings forfeited about an hour prior to game time. Luckily, the team was still able to get a practice in to prepare for the Pilots. Montana now loses out on two games this season, the other is its game in early April against the University of Providence after its school folded the program.
“It’s always unfortunate to not be able to play a game,” head coach Tucker Sargent said. “I think there was a lot of hype and energy heading into the game after not being able to play Portland State. We executed our plays and did great moving the ball.”
Aidan Larson seemed to be in the right place at the right time whenever Montana was on the attack. He finished the day with seven goals, most were assisted. The ball movement amongst the team was something that really stood out throughout the game. Montana had 15 assists as a unit and didn’t fail a single clear.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played in a game where we’ve never failed a clear,” Larson said.
The freshman from Newark, Calif., Sean Anderson kicked off the barrage of goals for Montana within the first couple minutes, he finished with three goals. It wasn’t long before the first quarter was over and the Grizzlies had a 9-1 lead. Ten different Grizzly players had a tally in the score column and Montana held a 17-1 lead at the half.
Five players had three or more goals by the end of the game. Along with Larson and Anderson was Jimmy Pierce, Miguel Generoso and Parker Swank.
Montana won 24 of the 31 face-offs with Trevor Wikstrom and Luke Johnson manning the draws. The Grizzlies defense suffocated any opportunities the Pilots tried to put on in its offensive zone. The defense picked up 36 ground balls. Goalkeeper Andrew Moesel faced 10 shots and made eight saves.
The Grizzlies may have dominated the Pilots, but Montana will face what may be its toughest challenge all year. The team will travel to the Midwest to face the defending national champions North Dakota State and fifth ranked St. Johns out of northern Minnesota. It will be a short week of preparation for the team as the bus plans to leave early in the morning on Feb. 14.
“We’ll have to make smart decisions with the ball or else that’s going to really hurt us with those teams,” Larson said.
The Bison split its season opener in Minnesota, dropping its first game 8-4 against the University of Minnesota and handed a 16-11 loss to Iowa State. The Johnnies first game will be against Montana.