The Fort Lewis College women’s lacrosse team finished fourth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular season standings and received the No. 4 seed for this weekend’s RMAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament.
FLC (8-6, 6-3 RMAC) will make its fourth consecutive appearance in the now six-team RMAC tournament. The Skyhawks will face No. 5 Westminster (7-5, 5-4 RMAC) in the opening-round game at 4 p.m. Thursday in Denver on the field of tournament host Regis University. The winner will face the undefeated regular-season RMAC champion and the tournament’s top-seed in Lindenwood (17-0, 9-0 RMAC), which is ranked No. 2 in the nation.
The Skyhawks received a few accolades before the tournament kicked off, as the RMAC All-Conference teams were announced Tuesday.
Megan Longtain, a senior from West Linn, Oregon, was named to the All-RMAC First Team. The defender led the RMAC in ground balls per game at 3.36. She led the Skyhawks in caused turnovers at 33. The recognition built upon two previous Second Team honors the last two seasons.
Alyssa Spencer, a Durango High School alumna and FLC senior, was named to the All-RMAC Second Team. She started 10 of the team’s 14 games and finished with a 7-3 record. Spencer previously earned All-RMAC Honorable Mention in 2016 and was named to the All-RMAC Third Team in 2014.
FLC’s Taylor Cabrera and Nikki Fry also were named to the All-RMAC Honorable Mention list this season.
Cabrera led the team in points with 30 on 21 goals and nine assists, and she was tops in draw controls at 32 wins. She had six multi-goal games. Cabrera was an All-RMAC First Team selection in 2014.
Fry led FLC with 12 assists. She finished the year with 27 points on 15 goals and 12 assists.
Fort Lewis is playing its best lacrosse at the right time. FLC closed out the regular season with a pair of dominant wins in which they combined to outscore CSU-Pueblo and Adams State 31-10. The Skyhawks have won six of their last seven games heading into the postseason, including a win against Westminster in the only meeting between the two teams April 2 at FLC.
Brooke Galle had a hat trick for the Skyhawks, and Fry finished with two goals and two assists in the 12-10 win against the Griffins. Galle finished the season as the Skyhawks’ top goal-scorer with 23. Cabrera and Ryann Pierce were right behind with 21 and led a deep FLC offense that had nine players score 10 or more goals.
“We started playing much better as a team down the stretch,” Fort Lewis head coach Julia Decker said. “You could just tell that the team was starting to come together. If you look at the goals during this stretch, there are a lot more assists than there were early in the year.”
Westminster’s Madison Ingman scored four goals in the April 2 loss, but the Skyhawks kept Griffins star and RMAC’s leading scorer Kira Heiden in check. Heiden scored just twice in that game, but her 46 goals during the regular season put her tied for the league lead in goals scored with Rockhurst’s Erin Todd. However, Heiden played only 12 games and her average of 3.83 goals per game is clearly the RMAC’s best. The Skyhawks defense will have to keep her contained again if they hope to advance.
“Westminster isn’t a team that you can just focus on one or two players and succeed,” Decker said. “They have a bunch of fast players. They beat us badly on the draws last time, so if we can straighten that out, I think we have a good chance to beat them again.”
No. 2 Regis (15-2, 8-1 RMAC) got a first-round bye and will face the winner between No. 3 Colorado Mesa (12-3, 7-2 RMAC) and No. 6 Rockhurst (9-8, 4-5 RMAC).
FLC is 3-0 all-time against the Griffins, including a 12-10 win at home on April 2.
If the Skyhawks win Thursday’s first-round matchup, they will face Lindenwood at 4 p.m. Friday. The championship match is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.