MEQUON, Wis. – With the season on the line and a spot in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference Tournament at stake, Concordia University Wisconsin fell short against Augustana College, 9-6, at Fitting Field on Saturday.
The weather was beautiful and the intensity was at a season high for both teams. The Falcons entered the game having to win by three or more goals to continue their season and earn the No. 3 spot in the MLC Tournament.
CUW captured a 3-2 lead at halftime, but AC took control in the final 30 minutes by scoring seven of the game's final 10 goals. The Falcons ended the game with advantages in shots on goal (36-25), ground balls (31-25) and face-off wins (13-6), however, the Vikings scored two man-up goals and converted a high percentage of their possessions down the stretch.
Freshman Marino Best (Naniamo, British Columbia) led CUW with two goals and an assist. Sophomore Derek Brueske (Hopkins, Minn.) returned from an injury and finished with a goal and an assist. Sophomore Mitch Trapp (Hartland, Wis.) caused a game-high-tying three turnovers. Freshman Danny Bundra (Lake Zurich, Ill.) won 13-of-19 face-off attempts.
Kevin Gleason led the Vikings with six points (three goals, three assists). Colin Haley scored twice and Tim Fennelly assisted on a pair of markers. Cody Burgdorff picked up a game-high 12 ground balls and made 13 saves between the pipes.
CUW (9-7, 6-4 MLC) found its offensive rhythm early by attacking from behind the goal and finding a moving player in front of the cage. After sophomore Matt Larsen (Gurnee, Ill.) scored the only goal in the opening period, Best scored two minutes and 41 seconds apart in the second quarter to extend the Falcons lead to 3-1.
AC tallied a heartbreaking score with 30 seconds left on the lock before halftime and continued its offense into the third frame with two goals to own a 4-3 lead after 45 minutes of play. Gleason added a pair of markers and Fennelly assisted twice to push the Vikings lead out of reach for the Falcons during the fourth quarter.
Prior to the game, the Falcons honored their lone senior, Colin Stephenson, who ended his career with 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists). He also picked up 99 ground balls, caused 18 turnovers and won 41 face-offs in three seasons.
CUW's nine overall victories and six wins in conference play each tied a season high, which was set last season.