The No. 1 Rams (14-0) have displayed their dominance on lacrosse fields all across the state and west coast this year, but there had been one stop missing on their undefeated tour: Fort Collins.
Finally, the Rams were able to put on a show for the home fans this weekend, defeating No. 21 Georgia and New Mexico on the CSU intramural fields for the first time of the season.
On Friday night the Rams faced a very strong Georgia team, who only had one loss on the season coming into the game.
The Bulldogs began the game with a huge amount of energy and seemed to catch CSU by surprise. Georgia captain, senior midfielder Conner Reed, led Georgia to a 4-1 lead after the first quarter, scoring two unassisted goals.
“They definitely came out with a lot of fire early,” CSU senior attack Austin Fisher said. “They had more energy out of the gate, but once we got settled in it things turned around pretty quickly.”
In the second quarter, the Rams flipped the switch to attack mode. Fisher put in a quick man-up goal to get things started, and three more goals by three different scorers in the quarter put the Rams back the lead.
“(CSU) made adjustments better than any team I have seen since my time here at Georgia,” said Reed. “Their in-game adjustments were incredible and we knew that they were coming, but they are just a very good team.”
Refined defensive play and a number of good saves by junior goalie Jack Regan kept the Bulldogs off the board for the remainder of the quarter, and the Rams led 5-4 at the half.
“You really have to know our defensive line and how long we have been playing with one another to understand our defense,” CSU senior defenseman Tyler Zabor said. “We just know each other’s strengths so well and we can match up our strengths to the weaknesses of the other team.”
The Rams fired off a trio of goals to take an 8-4 lead three minutes into the second half, giving themselves a buffer that Georgia would not be able to overcome.
Whenever it appeared that the Bulldogs were within striking distance, CSU answered with a goal of their own to keep them at arms length.
“Every time we would start to build momentum, they were able to stop it so quickly, and I think that’s really the sign of a great team,” Reed said.
After Georgia closed the gap to 10-7 with ten minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Rams buckled down on defense. The Bulldogs would not score again in the game, and the Rams remained undefeated after the 12-7 victory.
Saturday’s game against New Mexico gave the younger CSU players an opportunity to shine. As most of the starters sat, the Rams rolled to a 19-0 victory over the Lobos highlighted by freshmen Jake Johnson and Chris Roach, who scored five and four goals, respectively.
The stage is now set for what should be an electric season finale at Hughes Stadium Saturday, where the No. 1 Rams will put their undefeated season on the line against rivals No. 2 CU.
“Weeks like this, before big games, we really start focusing inward,” said Fisher. “We want to make adjustments throughout the week, but we are going to be focusing on playing our game, playing CSU lacrosse.”
Club Sports Beat Reporter Tyrus Coder can be reached at email@example.com