DENVER — Ever watch something so close you can almost taste it slip away? If you asked the CSU men’s lacrosse team that same question, it would say Saturday’s game against in-state rival CU-Boulder fit that mold.
For just the second time in 15 years, CSU fell to CU. It was the first loss at a neutral site. The Rams could not surpass a 5-1 deficit going into half time, resulting in a 9-6 final.
“We what happened was they took it to us – bottom line,” CSU defensive player Tim Miaskiewicz said. “They were fired up, we were fired up, there is a lot of history between the two teams and I think this stage really sums it up. They put a couple in when we really did not need them too and they did a good job keeping the momentum going.”
Head coach Alex Smith prepared his team to shut down the attack and defeat its strong zone defense. With missed shots, dropped balls and overall on-heels the majority of the game, the Rams did not come out with its best foot forward.
From the start of the first quarter, the Rams knew it was going to be a come-from-behind-battle. With the Buffaloes scoring the first goal of the night, it was not long till CU scored again and again and again.
“That is the game of lacrosse and it is a fun game where it is going to be up and down, but you have to continue and fight through it and grind,” CU head coach John Galvin said.
CU continued to fight through until CSU showed a side of resilience at the start of the third quarter and into the second. Within the first two minutes of the third, Sean Smith of the Rams fired a shot past the Buffaloes’ goalie, bringing CSU within three. The Rams wen on to score three unanswered goals before CU got back into its first-half groove.
It was not until the five minute mark when all hope left the Rams sideline, as the Buffaloes scored two goals in under a minute to clinch the bronze helmet trophy awarded for claiming the annual rivalry game.
“We got to 7-6 and that was a big moment right there,” Smith said. “Their No. 5 (CU midfielder Riler Kulm) got a really nice goal and then they got that one right off the face-off. That is what they do, they get runs and they got the key run today.”
Saturday’s loss is not the end of the road for CSU. The post season is just around the corner for the Rams and there is a high chance that it will meet the Buffaloes again.
“I think, historically, there are big ramifications in sports, but that is not something we are thinking about right now,” Smith said. “I am proud of us for fighting hard, I wish we would have played the whole game like we did in the second half. But, hats off to them, they deserve to win today and hopefully we will get to see them soon.”
Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.