Santa Maria, CA – In their first MCLA action of 2009, the #7 Colorado State Rams jumped out to an early lead over #9 UC-Santa Barbara and never trailed en route to a convincing 11-6 win in Santa Maria, CA at Righetti High School. The Rams got a huge effort from sophomore attackman Paul Larson (Columbine HS; CO), who scored 5 goals to lead CSU to victory. Sophomore goaltender Alex Jacques (Bainbridge Island HS; WA) was spectacular in the goal as well, recording 18 saves as the Rams reeled off 5 fourth quarter goals to pull away.
The Rams got out of the gates quickly thanks to sophomore attackman Cooper Kehoe (Stevenson HS; CA), who scored back to back goals in the opening six minutes, both assisted by junior Kevin Wolff (Don Bosco Prep; NJ). Wolff pitched in with 2 more assists in the game while Kehoe also registered 2 helpers giving them each 4 points on the evening. But the story of CSU’s offense was Larson, who routinely found himself with time and room near the Gaucho goal.
The Rams led at the half 5-2 and withstood a strong rally by UCSB in a third quarter that saw the Gauchos narrow the lead to 6-5. Even after the Gauchos closed to 7-6 with 7:00 remaining, CSU reeled off three goals in just over a minute to put the game away. Two of the goals were scored by freshman midfielders Matt Jui (Columbine HS; CO) and Dennis Carrasquillo (Chapparal HS; CO) as the two youngsters picked up the first goals of their respective careers.
Jacques was stellar in net, especially in the first half when the junior made 10 saves. The Gauchos hit a handful of pipes in the game, but Jacques stood tall under a barrage of UCSB shots and made several momentum changing stops. Santa Barbara outshot CSU 43-29, but the Rams were extremely accurate on their chances. UCSB goaltender Zack Carson made only 4 saves in the losing effort.
CSU had some great success at the face-off ‘x’ thanks to senior Pat Miller (Air Academy HS; CO), who won 13-20 draws on the evening. Miller and long stick midfielder Mark Moskovics (Monarch HS; CO) teamed up quite nicely to give the Rams plenty of extra possessions down the stretch.
UCSB was led by Jack Miller, who scored 4 goals to pace the Gauchos, but dangerous attackman Brendan Sindell was shut out by the CSU defense – junior Andrew Stein (Columbine HS; CO) in particular, who added 3 groundballs to his stout effort against Sindell.
Next up for CSU (1-0) is a game against #21 Cal Poly on Sunday afternoon. The game will also be played at Righetti HS in Santa Maria as foul weather has closed fields on campus. CSU defeated Poly 8-4 last season in the first ever meeting between the schools.