The Skyhawks simply ran out of time.
The Fort Lewis College women’s lacrosse team cut what had been a 10-goal second-half lead for Lindenwood to four with 5:49 to go, but a late Lions’ goal and a couple of FLC turnovers allowed Lindenwood to hang on for a 20-15 win Saturday at Ray Dennison Memorial Field.
Lindenwood, which already had locked up the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association championship, used an 11-1 scoring run to turn a 5-5 tie into a 16-6 lead with 18:50 to go.
The Skyhawks, however, scored nine of the next 12 goals, cutting the lead to 19-15 on Jessica Norby’s goal with 5:49 to play in regulation.
But Melissa Menchella answered with her sixth goal of the day with 2:07 to play after a couple of costly FLC turnovers, effectively icing the game away.
“We played with them in the first half, and we were leading at one point, and then we just started allowing them to win the 50-50 balls and getting the draw control ... and when they had the ball on the attack, they were very successful,” FLC head coach Kelsey MacDonald said.
FLC battled neck and neck with the Lions (14-2, 7-0 WILA) through most of the first half, leading 4-3 at one point and coming back to tie the game at five on Brook Wineland’s goal.
But late in the first half and early in the second, the Lions rattled off eight goals in a row to lead 13-5.
Both MacDonald and Ally Kvidera chalked up the Lindenwood run to poor results in the draw control and groundball departments.
“It’s all about the draws, too, and end up throwing it away and letting them get a couple and get momentum,” Kvidera said.
“The draws pretty much tell the game. If we win them, we pretty much come out on top.”
As FLC battled back, the groundballs tilted more in the Skyhawks’ favor, and they finished with a 35-30 edge in the category.
Kvidera was key in the rally attempt, dishing out both of her assists and scoring twice during FLC scoring runs, and Jessica Norby scored three of her five goals as the Skyhawks tried to close the gap.
Unfortunately for the Skyhawks, Saturday was another near-miss against the league and region’s top talent. FLC fell in double overtime to WILA foe Regis and came up just short against regional stalwart Colorado College earlier this year.
“We know we can win these games, it’s just the fact of us stepping up and realizing they’re just a team. ... We’ve got to realize that we’re there,” Kvidera said.
Aside from Kvidera and Norby, FLC got four goals and an assist from Wineland and goals from Abby Kvidera and Toki Tajima-Prodnuk.
Fort Lewis held a 26-21 turnover advantage, and shots were even at 38, but Christine Hehmeyer made 15 saves, several of which came on free position shots and a handful of other quality saves.
“It was frustrating ... we would come down, and either we would come down and take a shot right at the goalie or she would make a save,” MacDonald said.
Menchella’s six goals paced the Lions, who also got hat tricks from Justiene Groothuis, Lindsey Palmer, Kathryn St. George and Kara Cashen.
FLC (6-8, 3-4 WILA) will wrap its regular season at 1 p.m. today at Ray Dennison Memorial Field.