Colorado State traveled to Boulder on Saturday afternoon to compete against the University of Colorado in the annual Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown. The Rams were greeted by sub-40 degree temperatures and a heavy, wintry mix upon arriving at Kittredge Field.
The weather conditions were harsh, forcing the teams to play with an orange ball for the first time this season. The storm never let up throughout the contest. Fortunately, the CU grounds crew was up to the challenge with a team of plows and field groomers. The game went on as scheduled in spite of the weather.
The Buffs came out firing, quickly building a 4-1 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Rams struggles continued through the rest of the half, and a CU offensive onslaught ensued. The Rams found themselves down 10-4 when the half-time whistle sounded. The score was a shocker for Ram fans as the team had allowed an opponent to score in the double digits only once this season, in the 11-10 OT victory over Grand Canyon. The Buffs managed to generate the same total in just the first half, creating a near insurmountable lead in the process.
CSU came out of the locker room and won the third quarter 2-1 with big goals from Grant Woods and Chase Warner. This helped the Rams steal back some momentum as they headed into the fourth quarter.
The momentum earned in the third quarter prompted the offense to erupt. With their backs against the wall, the Rams clawed their way back into the game with 5 goals in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately it was not enough, as the Buffs scored three goals of their own. Those goals proved to be the dagger and pushed the game out of reach. The Buffs celebrated as the clock dwindled down, handing the Rams an 11-14 defeat. The loss was the Rams third of the season, giving them a final regular season record of 10-3.
“I thought we weren’t playing our game early and they [the Buffs] were, so that was the difference. The 10-goal first half was not something we are used to giving up. I think we learned in the second half, if we play our game and play smart we can hang with anybody.” said assistant coach Brandon Hulett.
The Rams returned to Fort Collins after the heartbreaking loss to their cross town rival with a focus on the next step towards nationals, the RMLC Tournament.
CSU earned the #2 seed and will play either BYU or Utah Valley in the RMLC semifinal. The semifinal is scheduled for 4:00 PM on Friday, April 29 at The University of Utah. The Rams have proven to themselves and the nation that they can pull through and win close games. Despite their most recent loss, the resilience they demonstrated throughout the regular season could be the factor in winning the conference championship at the end of the month.