The Vandals men’s club lacrosse team opened the season with a rain-filled showing against Gonzaga Feb. 13 and concluded the season in a downpour Saturday at Guy Wicks Field against Boise State.
Both teams battled for loose balls, utilized hard tackles and dealt with fatigue for four quarters. But an early scoring surge for Boise State proved too much to overcome for the Vandals.
After defeating Washington State 18-9 Friday, the Broncos handed Idaho a 17-7 loss on the teamâ€™s home field.
Vandal head coach James Courter said the team put forth a strong effort in the season finale.
â€œWe gave it our all and Boise State had the early lead,â€ Courter said. â€œBut we came out strong in the second half with our late game rally. Iâ€™m proud of each member of the team, especially the three seniors for the effort and energy they invested in the program this season.â€
Idaho entered halftime trailing Boise State 9-2, after the Broncos scored consecutive goals in less than two minutes during the second quarter.
Sophomore midfielder Andrew Welch and freshman defender Andrew Spangler provided the two goals in the first half for Idaho.
The Vandals rebounded from the teamâ€™s first-half woes with five goals in the second half to stay competitive in the matchup.
Senior defender Scott Kozisek said the team has routinely produced a strong second half after consistently beginning games at a slow tempo.
â€œWeâ€™ve always been known to be a second half team,â€ Kozisek said. â€œBeing low on numbers, we come out timid. But then in the second half, we gave it our all on the field.â€
Idaho senior captain A.J. Gravel said several opposing programs have complimented the teamâ€™s ability to succeed with a small roster.
â€œEvery matchup Iâ€™ve had, they always said how much of a battle it is playing Idaho,â€ Gravel said. â€œAlso they say how unexpectedly hard our teamâ€™s been working with our limited numbers, and it definitely showed in the fourth quarter.â€
The Vandals entered the fourth quarter trailing 14-5, but converted quick scores in the opening minutes to pull within 14-7.
Boise State responded with three consecutive goals of their own to put the game out of reach for Idaho.
The win improves Boise Stateâ€™s record to 7-7 overall after the team dropped six straight road games. Idaho falls to 2-10 overall.
Senior defender Chris Moran said the Vandals earned respect from opposing teams, despite the teamâ€™s initial record.
â€œItâ€™s always a fight till the end,â€ Moran said. â€œWeâ€™ve always played hard on every ground ball all the way to the end of the game.â€
Courter said team remained positive throughout the ups and downs of the season.
â€œSaturdayâ€™s game was about having one last opportunity with this yearâ€™s team roster,â€ Courter said. â€œItâ€™s a young program with a lot of youthful potential and it was one last chance to prove ourselves and show the Menâ€™s Collegiate Lacrosse Association what weâ€™re made of.â€
Kozisek said the team is heading in the right direction for the fall.
â€œThe program is going to go places in a few years,â€ Kozisek said. â€œWe have a very solid freshman class and young guys that have the potential and work ethics. So be on the lookout for Vandal lacrosse in the upcoming years.â€
Luis Torres can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @TheLTFiles