Billy Brengle, #25, displays the affect a stick can have when it slashes an exposed body part. Brengle scored a goal during the third quarter of Saturday's game. Photo/Taylor W. Anderson
Both old mistakes and the Idaho Vandals beat the Montana Grizzlies men’s lacrosse team at Dornblaser Field, Saturday afternoon, as a blown three-goal second half lead and a 10-8 loss push the Griz further into the depths of a disappointing season.
Coach Tucker Sargent didn’t blame his team’s effort for the loss. Montana came into Saturday’s game fresh off a strong win over Gonzaga last week and played well in the first two quarters before simple aspects like throwing and catching played a factor, he said.
“Our transition game fell apart,” he said. “Not in a game-play manner, so to speak, but just as the, the fundamentals fell apart.”
Saturday afternoon’s game wasn’t necessarily a must-win for the Griz so much as it was time to build for the next season and play for pride in front of an ample crowd of both Grizzly and Vandals fans. The now 1-6 team has fallen back into the inconsistent habits of early season play, and the offense couldn’t quite keep up with that of the Vandals.
“Our D worked pretty well, our scoring wasn’t there,” Sargent said. “I mean, we could easily win a game, we hold a team to 10 goals, we should definitely win a game.”
First-year Idaho attackman Kyle Morse had a hat trick in the game. His three goals and one assist helped end a three-game Vandal slide that put Idaho’s record in the red, at 2-4.
“We fixed things in practice that we were doing wrong on our spring break trip,” he said, alluding to the team’s 0-3 California road trip. “We started moving the ball, and not ball-watching,” he added.
Montana’s goalie, freshman backup Hank Vieten, was in net again for injured starter Ty Hall, out with a separated shoulder. For the second straight week, the rookie held his team in a close game, adding 15 saves to his repertoire. “Hank played outstanding, he played out of his mind,” said Sargent.
Time of possession was an opponent the Griz couldn’t beat Saturday. A team can expect trouble with fundamental errors and a lack of quality shots in the offensive end.
Frankly, it was no feat that the team entered the second half with the lead. Kent Davis put his second goal behind Vandals goalie Blake Uphus early in the third. Attackman Jeremy Brown had two goals of his own, but the rest of the second half was a different game altogether.
Assistant coach and team alumnus, Will Freihofer, watched his first game after a six-month hiatus. “Our defense played really well for long stretches of the game, but what we didn’t have to carry that over was offensive possessions,” he said.
The Vandals played some good second-half ball.
After Montana took a three-goal lead into the final eight minutes of the game, Idaho answered with four unanswered, giving them the 8-7 lead early in the fourth. The string of goals brought back visions of last week’s last minute game three-goal run by Gonzaga.
There would be no recovery from this bout.
“When you get behind and there’s the pressure to score every time it’s in somebody’s stick,” it’s tough to win games, Freihofer said. The team that’s playing catch-up drives hard to the net, and if they don’t put it in it goes back the other way and it’s brutal, he said.
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, hopes for a playoff spot this season look grim. The team has upcoming home games against 5-5 Washington and 0-6 Boise State. They can expect a slight revamping before then, Sargent said.