CHICAGO – In the Windy City, revenge is best served topped with mustard, relish, tomato wedges, some chopped onions, and a pickle on top of a poppy seed bun. For the Montana Grizzlies hurling team though, revenge is best served cold.
The Griz won a third NCGAA hurling championship in four years over Memorial Day weekend, defeating the University of Connecticut Huskies, 16-12, in the championship game. UConn denied Montana of a three-peat — and a potential four-peat — in last season’s championship game.
“Honestly like, it was weird how calm we were. No one really talked about like, ‘Oh we have to face UConn again. This is going to be a repeat of last year,’” said senior midfielder/halfback Jaden Emminger. “No. It was like, ‘We’re here, we know we can beat them, and we just have to go out and do it.'”
Montana was motivated not to let the Huskies join them as the only team to win back-to-back national championships. The Griz were in control by halftime, leading by 7 points. UConn whittled Montana’s lead down to 3 with three minutes remaining in regulation, but the Griz added another point and bled the clock dry for the victory.
“To lose it last year, and really work to get back the Cup…” began Tanner Sholey, Montana’s senior captain, “…We spent a lot of time almost three times a week for an entire school year getting ready for that tournament. And to go in, and have it be close, and have it kind of come down to the wire and pull through, it really showed how hard our entire team worked to win that game.”
The Montana hurling program has only been in existence for four years. En route to the championship, the Griz defeated Pittsburgh, 15-0; Colorado, 16-4; Purdue, 8-2; UConn, 11-2; and Pitt again, 19-2.