They came, they saw, they conquered. CSU overcame conference opponent BYU in the semis, and then battled it out with rival CU-Boulder in the MCLA championship in Greenville, SC, rolling over the Buffs 7-2 to win back-to-back National Championships.
The RMLC proved itself as the cream of the crop in this year’s tournament, represented by three of the final four teams.
CSU defeated BYU 9-7 and CU came away with a 5-4 victory over Arizona State in the semifinals to set the stage for an all-Colorado championship.
“Our league is the best league in the country, so it was kind of expected when the brackets came out, and we were more than happy to see them again,” said senior face-off specialist Dan Warfield.
Saturday’s matchup was the third meeting between the Rams and Buffs this year, who were ranked first and second in the country, respectively, for most of the regular season. CSU was able to fend off the CU in all three games, winning 8-3, 9-6, and finally 7-2 on Saturday.
“You want to play the best teams to get the championship, and they were two of the better teams we played all season,” said junior attackman Sean Smith. “It wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t go through BYU and CU to get to the championship.”
As it has done all season, the CSU defense stifled the opponent, keeping the Buffs off of the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. Senior defender Tyler Zabor spearheaded the effort, grabbing six ground balls.
“The whole season our defense has been awesome,” said senior attackman Kacy Carter. “They have been the staple of our team for the past 4 years, and they give us the confidence we need to think we are going to win every single game.”
CSU goalie committee Jack Regan and Koltin Fatzinger were both at the top of their game Saturday, allowing just two CU goals, the lowest amount CSU allowed against a ranked opponent this year.
“Our defense was incredible,” said Smith. “As an offense we are pretty lucky to be able to go against them every day in practice, because they are the best in the league. What they did on Saturday showed everybody how good they really are, how dominant they can be.”
On the offensive end, the Rams put together a characteristically balanced offensive attack. The line comprised of seniors Kacy Carter and Austin Fisher and junior Sean Smith have been a nightmare for teams across the nation this season, and true to their selfless nature, each of them notched two points in the game.
For an entire year, Head Coach Alex Smith stressed the importance of peaking at the right time to his players. On Saturday, they proved to him that they were capable of doing just that, burying the Buffaloes on their way to their 6th National Championship. The Rams finished the season a perfect 21-0.
“It’s a lot of fun, and its pretty amazing to think about being undefeated,” said Carter. “Coming into the year we were ranked number one and everyone was talking about how we were supposed to win it all, and that was a lot of pressure. So to pull this off and go undefeated is awesome.”
The Rams found themselves heavily represented in the MCLA All-American teams. Fisher and senior defender Hayden Porter were named 1st team All-Americans, and another 10 Rams made their way on to the second, third, and honorable mention All-American teams.
Additionally, Austin Fisher was named the winner of this year’s Godekeraw Award, given to a player who has shown superior achievement in both on the field play and academics.
“This senior class has been probably the best we’ve ever had,” said Smith. “Missing Austin is going to be big. Playing with him is so easy because he makes everyone better. We are all best friends off the field as well, so we are going to miss having them around, but at least we were able to send them off with a bang.”
Club Sports Beat Reporter Tyrus Coder can be reached at email@example.com
CSU’s perfect 2013 season (21-0):
Goals scored: 262
Goals allowed: 89
2/16 — W vs Northern Colorado, 22-8 (scrimmage)
2/17 — W vs Colorado Mesa, 5-4 (scrimmage)
2/22 — W vs Utah State, 21-2
2/23 — W vs Westminster, 14-7
3/2 — W vs UC Santa Barbara, 11-10
3/3 — W at UNLV, 9-5
3/7 — W vs Loyola Marymount, 13-3
3/9 — W vs Simon Fraser, 16-7
3/10 — W vs Virginia Tech, 14-5
3/16 — W at Michigan State, 9-3
3/17 — W at Minnesota-Duluth, 11-0
3/25 — W vs Chapman, 5-4
4/5 — W at BYU, 16-5
4/6 — W at Utah, 13-2
4/12 — W vs Georgia, 12-7
4/13 — W vs New Mexico, 19-0
4/20 — W vs Colorado, 8-3
2013 RMLC Playoffs:
5/3 — W vs Utah, 17-4
5/4 — W vs Colorado, 9-6
2013 MCLA National Championships:
5/13 — W vs Purdue, 20-3
5/14 — W vs Sonoma State, 9-4
5/16 — W vs BYU, 9-7
5/18 — W vs Colorado, 7-2