After a lost season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bozeman won on Sunday to reclaim its position at the top of the Montana High School Lacrosse Association.
With a 9-6 win against Glacier in Billings, Bozeman earned its fourth state title in five years. Not even a year off could truly interrupt Bozeman’s run of dominant lacrosse. The team finished the 2021 season 16-1.
“The boys were amazing,” Bozeman head coach Dan Springer said. “They had a lot of ups and downs and a lot of stuff to fight through during the year, and it just makes you really, really proud to be part of this organization. … I’m really proud of these boys for what they were able to accomplish.”
Logan Springer, Dan’s son and a sophomore midfielder, said the team was especially motivated this weekend to send off the team’s 14 seniors on a high note. The group was responsible for helping win state championships as freshmen and sophomores.
“They wanted to go out with a bang,” Logan Springer said. “They just wanted to go out the right way. I think that was a lot of motivation to win their last one as seniors.”
Glacier was responsible for Bozeman’s only loss during the regular season, a 7-4 decision on May 8. The challenger started well Sunday, scoring the first two goals to put Bozeman at an early deficit.
“We hit two pipes in the first quarter, and then they went and got two goals on us, so we knew the boys were on. They were just slightly missing,” Dan Springer said. “As the game went on, the boys started nailing it. They dialed in and started hitting top corners, sides. It really was impressive how they were able to hit their spots.”
Bozeman’s Kaden Kinney and Jacob Johnson both scored in the final 3 minutes of the first quarter to tie the game going into the second.
Bozeman added three more goals in the second frame — two from Kinney sandwiched around one from Luke Smith — while also blanking Glacier until halftime.
Bozeman held a 7-5 lead after the third quarter, spurred further ahead by goals from Jackson Wanderer and Logan Springer. Wanderer and Kinney each scored again in the fourth.
Glacier recorded its final goal with 1:18 to play in the fourth, far too late to be part of a meaningful comeback.
“Glacier is a very possession-oriented team,” Dan Springer said. “They don’t score much on fastbreaks or unsettled offense. Most of their scores come on settled offensive situations, so we knew once we got a lead it would be tough for them to catch up. It’s just not their game.”
Bozeman goalie Austin Baller recorded 10 saves, and the lead indeed held.
Johnson and Kinney both earned first-team all-state honors at attack and midfield, respectively. Baller and long stick midfielder Zach Smith were both named to the second team. Wanderer, an attack, and defensemen Caleb Scala and Sullivan Luckay all earned all-state honorable mentions.
Dan Springer said the team got a little unsettled in the last half of the fourth quarter, but Bozeman ultimately remained composed enough to put the finishing touches on another successful season.
“That’s the thing when you’re the champion, people really want to knock you down,” he said. “They’re trying to take you out. That’s a tough position to be in all year where every game you play, they’re coming for you. Our boys handled that pressure very well.”