Montana State edges out Montana to hold onto Copper Cup

The Montana Grizzlies lost the sixth annual Copper Cup to the Montana State Bobcats 14-9 on April 6 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula. Montana has dropped its last four games against the Cats.

Photo Courtesy: Sally Johnson

Photo Courtesy: Sally Johnson

Montana edged out MSU in the first quarter 4-1, but couldn’t hang on after the Cats found its groove on offense and pounded away 13 goals in three quarters.

“I think the score of that game is accurate for how the game transpired. It was evenly contested, but they had a few more opportunities that they were able to capitalize on,” Head coach Tucker Sargent said. “This is a game of runs but what you want to prevent is them scoring multiple goals in a row, you got to go out and get the next one.”

Montana kicked the scoring off in the first quarter with a goal by attackman Jimmy Pierce who bounced off a couple defenders en route to finding the back of the net. That goal was followed up by a tic-tac-toe goal. Carson Smith dished a pass off to Pierce who found Miguel Generoso on the back door.

Carson Smith and Generoso both found goals before the Cats answered back late in the first quarter to bring it to 4-1. The script flipped after MSU’s first goal as the Cats scored six in the second quarter. Montana’s lone goal came from Hayden Smith who received a pass from Carson Smith. It was 7-5 at halftime in favor of Montana State, the cats went on a 7-1 run.

“We had some unforced turnovers and we knew that the Bobcats were going to want to force transition and take advantage of the man-up,” Sargent said. “I think we lost our heads and focus because we haven’t beat this team in a few years, there was a lot of nervous energy.”

The Grizzlies have shown this season to be a second-half team, but MSU held Montana to only four second half goals. Pierce found Larson, who finished with a bounce shot. Pierce followed up later that quarter with a rip that went top-left. MSU scored two third quarter goals to bring the score to 11-7.

Montana came out with fire in the fourth quarter, but the Grizzlies could only find two more goals from Carson Smith and PIerce. The Cats added some insurance points late in the fourth to solidify the win, as Montana came within three goals at one point in the quarter.

Senior goalkeeper Drew Moesel kept Montana in the game, making some tough saves from the start. He finished the night with 24 saves. Defenseman Zev Revis and face-off-specialist Luke Johnson led the team with six ground balls apiece.

We definitely came out hot like we wanted but they just got the momentum and we couldn’t get it back,” Hayden Smith said. “We just need to get back to work, there’s just a lot of stuff we have to work on.”

Although Montana won’t have the luxury of crossing off this midseason task as a success, it has plenty of lacrosse still left to play. The Grizzlies will close out its divisional schedule against Western Washington on April 12 (7 p.m.) and Seattle University on April 13 (1 p.m.)

Montana’s undefeated in PNCLL North play with a divisional record of 2-0 and an overall record of 6-5. The Grizzlies will host the PNCLL conference tournament April 26-28.  

Lucas Ailport— Media Relations