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Montana men's lacrosse team advances at nationals; Montana State bows out

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MISSOULA — The Montana lacrosse team edged Florida Gulf Coast, 9-8, in the first round of the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association Division II National Championship Monday night in suburban Austin, Texas.

Montana scored the winning goal with 12 seconds left.

Montana's win was its first at the national tournament since it won the 2007 championship game. The Griz had lost in the first round in 2017 and 2019 in their only appearances since 2007. They're now 7-4 all-time at the tournament.

Montana (15-5) will play No. 14 seed Cal State San Marcos (9-3) in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. MT Tuesday. CSSM was one of three teams to pull off a seeding upset in the first round, knocking off No. 3 Kennesaw State, 14-6.

No. 8 Montana State was taken down by No. 9 Missouri State in the opening round, 13-8. The biggest upset of the day was No. 15 UNC-Charlotte beating No. 2 College of Idaho, 17-16 in overtime, for the largest seeding upset in tournament history.

No statistical information was available.

The Montana team includes Hellgate grad Jace Jarvis, a spark plug at face-off specialist who recently earned second-team all-league honors. Wyatt Smith of Kalispell and Brenden Cahill of Whitefish also see significant minutes, while freshmen Ethan Eppard of Missoula and Aidan Potter of Billings provide depth.

Bill Speltz is Missoulian Sports Editor and has served as Sunday columnist the past 15 years. Do you have a story idea? Email Bill at bill.speltz@missoulian.com.

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