With over four minutes spent in their own defensive zone, and three goals scored against them in that time, SFU Lacrosse looked like they were facing a comeback by the Chico State Wildcats. SFU had entered the third quarter up by a dominant score of 7–2, and were now only up 7–5.
It wouldn’t have been the first game SFU gave up after an early lead, either. In games against Boise State and the University of Washington, SFU bolted out to 7–2 and 6–2 leads in the first quarter, only to lose 13–11 and 18–17, respectively.
“We kind of let up in the third,” said sophomore attacker Greg Lunde, who had three goals and an assist. “We’ve been struggling with that a lot this season, so we’ve had good starts and eased off, as seen again in this game.”
But that wasn’t the final result Tuesday night versus Chico State. Instead, SFU cruised to a 10–5 lead by the end of the third quarter, and only allowed one more goal in the remaining 20:36 of the game. In the end, SFU won 13–6 against a non-conference rival who now has more losses than any other team in the league with nine.
Lunde opened the scoring, putting SFU on the scoreboard 4:15 into the game. Tyler Kirkby, assisted by Lunde, made the score 2–0, a little over three minutes later. Kirkby and Lunde led the charge offensively, each putting up three goals, while Kirkby had two assists to Lunde’s one.
SFU played a perfect quarter for 12:28, not allowing a single goal for that span. However, once the Wildcats found the back of the net, they scored a second one just 16 seconds later, erasing the Clan’s first quarter lead. The teams headed into the second quarter tied 2–2.
However, it was the second quarter in which SFU exploded offensively, putting up five goals and not allowing one.
“I thought we started out pretty strong, [but] we weren’t executing as a clip like we were supposed to. But the second quarter got a lot better,” explained Lunde. “I think it was really just good defence and hard work on ground balls, and that led to good execution on offence.”
Tom Newton, Kirkby, and freshman Taylor Martin, the latter of whom scored his first MCLA goal, all put up goals in the second quarter, as did Lunde, who put up two. Lunde’s second goal of the quarter came when he forced a turnover in Chico’s defensive, and went in on a breakaway and made the most of the chance with 38 seconds left in the quarter.
In the course of the game, Alex Thomson, Andrew Branting, and Kael Naylor also put up goals. Branting and Newton also had multi-goal performances, scoring two each.
Goaltender Jeremy Lashar put up a strong game, putting up 11 saves, and during the three-plus minutes of Chico possession in the third quarter, made several key saves.
SFU’s next home game will host the University of Nevada on Tuesday at 6 p.m.