All fired up: Men’s Lacrosse shooting for playoffs
Consistent field control and overcoming mistakes were the driving forces behind an emotional 12-7 victory for Western’s men’s lacrosse over rival Central Washington University on April 16.
The Vikings displayed some much needed fight in a must-win game, with even head coach Jacob Goodman being drawn into the action.
Following a fourth period scoring streak by Western, Goodman was ejected from the game with just under two minutes left after an altercation with the referee regarding what he felt was a blown head-spearing call.
“[The Central player] lowered his shoulder but he did not lead with his head,” referee Sean Upchurch said. Upchurch was the referee officiating the area of the field where the incident occurred.
“It’s not about winning or losing. Clearly we weren’t about to lose, we were up by five with a minute or two to go,” Goodman said. “It’s about keeping them safe.”
Though it occurred late in the game, it was not the first altercation between a coach and official. Central’s head coach received a warning from a referee after arguing over an unsportsmanlike conduct occurring when a Central player gloated after checking a Western player.
“[The referees] just don’t respect our coaches,” Goodman said. “The one time I try to get a word in for the safety of my players I get flagged, so I’m perfectly fine with getting ejected.”
The win maintains Western’s second place standing in the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League North Division behind Gonzaga University, bringing the Vikings’ season record to 5-5.
Prior to the game, Western had toiled through a string of frustrating losses early in the season. After losing four straight in the middle of the season, the Vikings put together a dominating victory against Pacific Lutheran University. With two conference games left on its schedule, and only one game separating Western and last place University of Great Falls, every game is a must-win game for the Vikings. The Vikings will face UGF in its regular season finale Monday, April 25.
Western came out firing in its game against Central, scoring twice in the first two minutes. Goodman said his players were focused for the rivalry game.
“They came out here knowing that we have something to prove,” Goodman said.
The Vikings pulled themselves out of a mistake-filled third period with the game tied 6-6.
While they finished strong, the Vikings slumped during the middle of the game, giving points to the Wildcats through dropped balls and open shots. The Vikings were saved from their own errors by ball control, assistant coach Jordan Johnson said.
“You have to control the momentum,” Johnson said. “When you can do that in the long stretch, you usually come out with the W.”
Junior attacker Tate Brumsickle helped lead the offense with three goals.
“I’m constantly putting in work,” Brumsickle said. “The first half of the season is just kind of working up to the last half. We’ve had some tough losses, so remembering how hard those were really makes us want to win now.”
With playoff contention and a shot at nationals looming, Goodman feels confident in the mindset of his players in the latter half of the season.
“Things seem really slow at the beginning but as it’s getting on people realize that the season’s almost over so we’re stepping it up.” Goodman said.