Lancers claw way out of early hole, defeat Rockhurst to earn trip to lacrosse title game

Jackson Gossick's two goals in the closing minutes of the LAKC semi-final secured the Lancers victory over rival Rockhurst.
Jackson Gossick’s two goals in the closing minutes of the LAKC semi-final secured the Lancers victory over rival Rockhurst.

The first half of Wednesday’s Lacrosse Association of Kansas City semi-final couldn’t have gone much worse for the Lancers. From the starting face-off, rival Rockhurst pushed them around, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. At halftime, it looked likely that, for the second year in a row, the Lancers’ season would end a game away from the championship round.

Then, first-year head coach Will Garrett gave his team a halftime shot in the arm.

“I told them that I’ve lost a lot of playoff games, and it was the ones where I had to look myself in the mirror and admit I hadn’t given it everything I had that I felt the worst about,” he said. “I told them if you give it everything you’ve got, I think you’re going to win.”

They did. And he was right.

Three quick goals to open the third quarter from Milton Braasch, Tom Peters and Nick Bailey tied the game and set the stage for a dramatic back-and-forth finish.

The Lancers gave up a go-ahead goal to Rockhurst with 5:11 to play, but a shot from John Aliber with 4:14 tied the score at eight.

Then, back-to-back goals from the Lancers’ Jackson Gossick put the game away.

“I’d just run an 80 yard gasser a few minutes before, and I thought I was done,” he said. “But once the game got tied up, the crowd got back in it, got a little rejuvenated. It felt great.”

The 10-8 win earns the Lancers the right to play for their third LAKC title since the league formed in 2012. But they’ll face a difficult opponent: Olathe East, the only LAKC team to beat the Lancers in the regular season.

The championship game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Durwood Stadium on the campus of UMKC.

Rockhurst put pressure on Lancer scoring threat Nick Bailey.
Rockhurst put pressure on Lancer scoring threat Nick Bailey.
After losing in the semi-finals last season to Pembroke, the Lancers celebrated punching their ticket to the title game.
After losing in the semi-finals last season to Pembroke, the Lancers celebrated punching their ticket to the title game.
A happy crowd of Lancer fans chanted as the clock wound down.
A happy crowd of Lancer fans chanted as the clock wound down.
Will Garrett, the Lancers first year head coach, played in college at Washington and Lee University.
Will Garrett, the Lancers first year head coach, played in college at Washington and Lee University.