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Utah State Weathers Storm, Claims RMLC D-II Crown

Blade Garlow goes to goal against Sky View on Saturday

The Utah State Aggies and Fort Lewis Skyhawks met for the second time this season to determine the RMLC Div-II champion. The first time these teams met, it was a back-and-forth affair that ended with the Aggies on top 12-10; the second meeting looked to be similar with both teams coming into the game undefeated in divisional conference play and almost identical overall records. But the game ended up as unpredictable as the weather in Boulder where it was played: a close first quarter, a seven-goal lead in the second, an hour-long lightning delay and lead cut to three in the second half, and an eventual blowout that didn’t indicate how close the game truly was all contributed to Utah State hoisting the RMLC championship trophy and reveling in a 19-9 victory.
“It feels fantastic!” said Utah State head coach Jon Atwood, “It was really scary for a minute there in the third quarter – the score doesn’t necessarily reflect how close it was. We have been talking about a championship the entire season…Utah State has never been as disciplined as we are right now.”

Blade Garlow goes to goal against Sky View on Saturday
Blade Garlow goes to goal against Sky View on Saturday
The player of the game was Aggie junior attackman Blade Garlow who finished the game with a double hat trick (6 goals) and 3 assists. But, Blade was in good company on the offensive end: senior Kevin Mann had 5 goals, freshman middie Sam Taylor had 4, and sophomore middie Zac Payne netted a hat trick. The standout player for the Skyhawks was sophomore attackman Ian Bragdon who scored the first four goals for Fort Lewis to keep things close in the first half.
Garlow had the first two goals of the game for Utah State, muscling topside from the low wing and using his defender as a screen by shooting it right over his shoulder both times. A Skyhawk goal from Bragdon and a penalty couldn’t slow the Aggies down, and three goals followed to give them the 5-1 lead. Fort Lewis responded with a pair of Bragdon goals on the doorstep. The teams traded one more goal each before Fort Lewis’ short bench started to hurt them and their fatigue started to show, resulting in two penalties to end the quarter.
The Aggies took advantage of their man-up situation to start the second when Taylor pushed straight through two defenders right down the middle and scored the Utah State goal. The quarter would turn out to be all USU as the Aggies scored another four unanswered goal. Late in the quarter, things started to get physical, with each team spending some time in the “naughty box” and lots of unsettled play due to big hits, failed clears, and takeaways. But no more goals were scored and the teams went into the half with Utah State leading big 11-4.
Play commenced sluggishly in the third quarter with more unsettled and physical play, and at the 9:49 mark a bolt of lightning struck the mountains overlooking the campus, causing the officials to call for everyone to clear the field until things were clear.
Fort Lewis used the time to catch their breath and strategize, and after the delay they came out red hot. Two quick goals from the Skyhawks seemed to catch the Aggies off guard. And while Utah State was able to score once just before the quarter ended, the momentum had clearly shifted.
The Skyhawks continued to use their now-rested legs to get to ground balls and create, going on a three-goal tear and closing the gap to 12-9. But that would be as close as Fort Lewis would come and Utah State showed their depth by putting up seven goals in a row to close out the game and secure the ten-goal victory.
“We’re going to two-a-days,” explained Atwood, “We can’t really do much more than that to prepare [for nationals]. I love the team, the progress we’ve made, the mountains we had to climb to get here, that we were able to overcome so much adversity to get here.”
The Aggies will find out their fate tomorrow when the MCLA will release the national playoffs seedings via Twitter.
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