Montana sophomore Miguel Generoso handled the ball behind the University of San Diego’s net. He found freshman Sean Anderson wide open about 15 yards from the net. Anderson with no hesitation launched a low shot that went between the goalie’s legs for a 6-5 overtime win against the Toreros on March 27. That game against No. 16 San Diego ended a three-game Southern California road trip that resulted in a clean sweep for the No. 17 Grizzlies.
The Montana men’s lacrosse team also played No. 22 Cal State San Marcos and No. 11 UC Davis. However, San Marcos was ranked No. 21 before Montana’s 15-9 win over the Cougars on March 24 in La Jolla, Calif. The Grizzlies also defeated UC Davis 10-6 on March 26 at UC San Diego. The Aggies were ranked No. 9 before losses to both Montana and San Diego. Montana stayed at No. 17 even with the two decisive wins over UC Davis and San Marcos.
“I couldn’t be more happy with the results. It’s really tough on the body playing three games in four days, it’s a hard, physical, exhausting game and each game got closer, so you could see the wear it was doing on the bodies,” Head coach Tucker Sargent said. “I think this San Diego team was the best team we’ve seen out here and it showed we can be successful on short rest.”
The Toreros and Grizzlies were neck and neck throughout the entire game. The score was tied 2-2 at halftime. The low scoring trend continued as the final score at the end of regulation was tied five apiece. Anderson scored a goal in regulation along with his overtime game-winning goal. Anderson’s freshman counterpart Carson Smith also scored two goals in the win.
Face-off specialist Luke Johnson faced 11 draws and won them all. He also picked up seven ground balls along with senior defenseman Davis Wylie. Drew Moesel recorded 10 saves in the overtime win.
The Grizzlies are familiar with being down early in games this season, but during this road trip Montana managed to grab early leads, despite slow offensive first halves. There was one piece Montana has missed this season: Senior midfielder Nate Hanold, who went through rehab from shoulder surgery in the fall. He scored Montana’s first two of three goals in the first quarter against San Marcos.
“Playing how I did today is exactly how I wanted to come out,” Hanold said. “The goal was to come out and start the fire because that’s what we’ve been missing this season. I want to be that fire.”
It was apparent the Grizzlies fed off of Hanold’s energy early on, but the scoring didn’t pick up for Montana until the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies went on the attack and scored seven fourth quarter goals to finish out the Cougars.
Aidan Larson scored six goals off of six shots, while Jimmy Pierce tallied up three goals and three assists. Moesel racked up 14 saves against San Marcos. Defensive midfielder Nolan Davis led the team with six ground balls.
The Grizzlies had a slow first half start against UC Davis and similar to the score against the Toreros, both teams were locked at two at the half. The offense found its way once again in the second half just like it did against San Marcos, Montana outscored the Aggies 8-4.
Defensemen Eric Mott and Zev Revis led the team with six ground balls. Freshman defenseman Tayler Arnold recorded five ground balls and played well when clearing the ball for Montana. Moesel racked up 17 saves and helped keep the team in it early on in the game. Hanold scored three goals in his second game back off of five shots.
Montana was slapped with only 12 penalties in three games. The Grizzlies have been notorious for giving up penalties this season. The team recorded 20 against Gonzaga and Central Washington, for example.
Montana’s now 6-4 on the season and have won its last five games after a challenging start to the season. The time to mesh couldn’t come at a better time as the Grizzlies will face in-state rival Montana State for the Copper Cup on April 6 at 7 p.m. at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
“We had little bit of hiccup early on in the season, but we’ve gotten the morale up and I think we can play with anyone,” Hayden Smith said after the win against UC Davis.
Lucas Ailport—Media Relations