After giving up three first-quarter goals and trailing 3-0, the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks clamped down defensively, scoring eight of the game’s next nine goals over more than 30 minutes as they held on to post a Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association title clinching 8-6 win over the host Adams State College Grizzlies, Saturday afternoon here at the ASC Lacrosse Field.
The Mavericks scored all three of the contest’s second-quarter goals and were tied at three going into the break before taking their first lead (4-3) on a Josh Russell tally just 2:26 into the second half.
The Grizzlies then answered back just seven seconds later as Omar Horani (Tigard, Ore.) won the faceoff before racing down the field to score ASC’s only goal of the middle two quarters.
However, the Mavericks, who outscored the Grizzlies 4-1 in the third quarter, got two straight goals from Austin Pridham and a man-up goal from Aaron Eggiman with two minutes to go in the third to build a 7-4 lead. Daniel Caddoo then scored his second goal of the game and his 18th of the year in the first minute of the final quarter to take an 8-4 lead.
The Grizzlies did cut the gap to 8-5 with a Parker Smith (Centennial, Colo.) tally, assisted by Brian Bertrand (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), with 12:23 left and then completed the scoring with 7:20 left on a Bertrand goal but would get no closer as the Mavericks were able to run out the clock, thanks in part to Grizzly turnovers on each of their last three possessions, which resulted in only one shot.
Saturday’s victory allowed the Mavericks to finish their second ever season with a 9-4 overall mark. They also finished the WILA campaign with a 6-2 mark and will either win the WILA title outright or on tie-breaking procedures depending on the results of Saturday night’s Battle of the Bay in San Francisco, Calif. Dominican (Calif.) enters that game against arch-rival Notre Dame de Namur with a 5-2 league mark but gave up more goals (53 through 7 games) than the Mavericks (43) in WILA play, which is the second tie-breaking procedure after head-to-head results.
The Mavericks and Penguins split their two regular season meetings.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies slipped to 5-8 overall and to 3-5 in WILA play as they also concluded their second season.
Early on, the Grizzlies, who finished in fourth place in the WILA standings, looked like they would play the role of the spoiler as Bryden Pelletier (Lantzville, British Columbia, Canada) took advantage of the first man-up opportunity of the game with his 18th goal of the campaign with 9:36 left in the opening quarter.
Pelletier, who tallied three offensive points, all in the first quarter, then assisted on Conor McLaughlin’s (Phoenix, Ariz.) first career goal with 1:37 left in the opening quarter, a tally that put the Grizzlies up 2-0.
Pelletier then made the score 3-0 with three seconds left in the opening quarter as he rebounded a Zach Weaver save.
The Mavericks then seized momentum scoring three goals in the first 6:06 of the second quarter, the beginning of what ended up being an 8-1 run.
Despite outshooting the Mavericks 32-31 overall, the Grizzlies did not manage any box-set goals in the middle two quarters. The Grizzlies also had a slight 14-13 edge in total shots but were thwarted by CMU goalkeeper Zach Weaver, who made eight saves, while improving to 3-2.
Grizzly freshman net-minder Mitch Harned (Salt Lake City, Utah) made five for the Grizzlies but fell to 0-2 on the year.
Grizzly freshman Josh Peterman (Santa Ana, Calif.) led all players with nine shots while Pelletier took six.
Sophomore Jordan Stillwagon (Littleton, Colo.) led the Grizzlies with six caused turnovers and was one of three Grizzlies with four groundballs.
Meanwhile, CMU’s Thomas Spain went an impressive 13-for-17 on faceoffs and claimed a game-high 10 groundballs, most of which came near the spot, which helped the Mavericks control possession despite committing 25 total turnovers, nine more than the Grizzlies.
Offensively, Caddoo, Russell and Pridham all scored two goals for the Mavericks. Russell and Pridham also added an assist each.
CMU finished the day with a 49-33 advantage in total groundballs, thanks in large part to their 13-4 edge in faceoff wins.