Greenville, SC – With a berth in the national championship game on the line and their biggest rivals standing in their way, the #2 Colorado State Rams jumped out to a 6-0 first half lead against #3 Brigham Young and stood strong on defense to advance to their eighth MCLA title game in team history. Junior attackman Austin Fisher (Rock Canyon HS / Highlands Ranch, CO) lit up Sirrine Stadium with five goals and three assists and CSU’s defensive corps held BYU’s potent offense to their lowest scoring output in over a year in the 11-5 win for the Rams.
Both teams were patient in the early going until Fisher got the Rams on the board on an assist from fellow attackman and high-school teammate Kacy Carter (Rock Canyon HS / Castle Rock, CO) with 9:20 remaining in the first. That seemed to be what the CSU offense needed as they controlled the rest of the quarter and led BYU 4-0 at the end of one.
Fisher completed his hat-trick early in the second quarter on the second of three assists by junior Alex Devlin (Langley HS / Langley, VA) and shortly thereafter Fisher fed sophomore Sean Smith (Amherst HS / Amherst, NY) to complete the key 6-0 run to start the game. BYU finally got on the board with 5:01 remaining in the first half when Pat Matheson bulled his way to the goal and Ted Ferrin notched another for BYU with just :01 left in the quarter to make it 6-2 at the half.
Coming out of the halftime break, the Rams got a momentum-seizing goal from Fisher off the opening face-off when junior Dan Warfield (Smoky Hill HS / Aurora, CO) won it to himself and started the fast break. That started another four-goal run that pushed the score to 10-2 and out of reach for the high-flying Cougars, who had scored 15 goals combined in fourth quarters during the tournament.
Despite Fisher’s heroics, CSU’s defense was again the story. Junior Hayden Porter (Heritage HS / Littleton, CO) was terrific in a tough match-up with Ferrin, a consensus first-team All-America selection, holding the senior to two goals. Sophomore Jack Regan (Sunset HS / Beaverton, OR) went the distance in cage for CSU and made eight key stops.
Fisher’s eight points led the way in scoring while Devlin and fellow junior middie Tim Taggart (Mountain Vista HS / Highlands Ranch, CO) each pitched in with three points on the evening. Warfield was 10/19 at the face-off ‘x’ and Porter had five groundballs to lead players from both teams. For BYU, Ferrin’s two goals were matched by a pair from Corey Gunderson to lead the way. BYU used two goalies in the contest as Wes Goar made five saves and allowed nine goals in three quarters of work before Robert Ostler came in off the bench to make three saves while allowing two goals against in the fourth.
The Rams dominated in shots, taking 40 to BYU’s 25 and scooped up 29 groundballs to BYU’s 16. Both teams cleared well and neither was able to cash in on man-up.
Next up for the Rams (18-2 overall) is a rematch with #1 Cal Poly on Saturday night. The winner will be crowned the MCLA national champion and after a thrilling 9-8 overtime win for Poly over the Rams back in March, the game has the markings of a classic all over it. CSU led that contest 5-1 at halftime before the Mustangs clawed their way back in the game and won it in the extra period to tie the all-time series at three games apiece.