The final home game for Fort Lewis College Men’s Lacrosse took longer than expected thanks to a lightning delay that lasted almost an hour. The fans who stuck around got treated to an electrifying finish, as the Fort scored the game winning goal with under 2 minutes left on a perfectly executed pass play from Max Segal to Nick Wallen. Wallen’s goal gave the Fort a final 12-11 lead over the Regis University Rangers. The Skyhawks won the final faceoff and were able to hold on until the final horn sounded despite furious double-team pressure defense from the Rangers. The Skyhawks never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 2-0 lead before the lightning delay stopped play with 3:41 left in the 1st quarter, but Regis fought back to tie the game 9-9 and again at 11-11 with under 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter. The win puts Fort Lewis at 10-4 to finish their regular season, with a 5-2 conference record and a #29 ranking in MCLA Division 2.
An emotional speech during the final timeout from the Fort’s lone senior, Michael Chase, set the stage for the dramatic finish, as he was not going to be denied on Senior Day and his final home game. Chase backed up his words with key ground balls in the final minutes that helped to ice the game, and complimented the goal he scored earlier in his trademark quick-stick fashion. Michael Chase (New Trier HS, IL) is the only player left on the team who played for former coach Zane Bilgrav in 2011, and the team was honored to have Coach Zane in attendance at the game, as he has been an inspiration for the Skyhawks all season. Fort Lewis was also playing without leading scorer Conor Henricks for the second straight game, as he was home dealing with the tragic death of a friend. It was an emotional game for the Fort to say the least and it secures a playoff spot for the team in the RMLC playoffs on May 2nd-3rd in Grand Junction.
The stars of the game for Fort Lewis were many, as Max Segal’s 3 goals and 2 assists led the team, and 7 different Skyhawks had goals in the win. James Rott and Ian Bragdon showed why they are two of the top freshmen in the RMLC with 2G 2A each and capitalizing on almost every man-up opportunity. Midfielders Brooks Wilcox and Erik Sortland each scored on brilliant one-on-one dodges to start the Fort off 2-0 before the delay. Michael Chase and Nick Wallen rounded out the scoring with their dramatic play. The defense struggled for the first time in a long time to clear the ball, but they made the big stops when they needed to, never allowing Regis to take the lead. Tim Topper was a force on ground balls with 6, several of which led to fast break opportunities for the offense. As usual, goalie Hayden Pike made several spectacular saves on shots from both inside and outside, but he couldn’t stop the Rangers from scoring multiple point-blank chances that resulted from sloppy transition play.
Fort Lax will have almost three weeks to rest up, work on correcting mistakes, and focus on academics before playoffs. The road will not be an easy one, but it will give the team a chance to likely avenge losses to rivals Northern Colorado and Montana State. Stay tuned for updates about matchups and game times. Thanks to all of the friends, fans, and family who came out to support us this weekend, and a special shout out to Tina Trump for organizing parents efforts to provide the team food and gatorades during and after our games at home and on the road this season. Fort Lax is a family, all in together, and we are not done yet.