When CSU’s men’s lacrosse club got beat 11-3 by Colorado in Boulder Friday, there was still a small chance its season would continue with an at-large Men’s Club Lacrosse Association Tournament bid.
But, the Rams did not hear their name called Sunday night during the MCLA’s selection, marking the first time in 10 years CSU’s lacrosse club has not made the tournament for a shot at a national club championship.
Even though the Rams posted wins against five tournament teams – Chapman, BYU, Texas State, Michigan State and Connecticut – CSU head coach Alex Smith thought the MCLA was justified in their decision to leave his team out.
“I don’t feel like we got snubbed,” Smith stated. “We’re definitely disappointed, but I don’t feel like we got robbed or anything.”
The Rams posted a mediocre 10-8 overall record, with four one-goal losses. They endured a four-game losing streak after opening up the season with six straight wins, and then only lost to Davenport before dropping their last three of the season, two of which came at the hands of Colorado.
“From a tournament perspective, turn two of those games around and we’re in,” Smith said. “We were probably right on the bubble, we could have been the next team to go, but we didn’t get robbed. We did it to ourselves with some inconsistent play throughout the year.”
There were still some bright spots for the Rams throughout the season, two being sophomores David Salamie and Ashton Monheiser – mainly because of their youth.
Salamie emerged as a solid goalie Smith had plenty of confidence in, despite the sophomore lacking confidence in himself at times, such as after the four-game slide when he began splitting time in the net with Jake Bender because he considered himself a “first-half goalie.” But the goalie out of Lake Oswego, Oregon, made strides down the stretch to become “the guy,” as Smith put it.
“I got better as the year went along, I started getting better under pressure,” Salamie said.
Monheiser led the team in points by far in his second season, scoring 29 goals and dishing 13 assists for a total of 42 points, which ranked eighth in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference.
Monheiser and Salamie are among a plethora of players eligible to return to the club as the Rams are losing just four seniors from this year’s 54-man roster. Four of CSU’s top six point scorers are sophomores, while Collin Zines, who notched 17 points to round out the top six, is just a freshman. Jake Johnson, CSU’s fifth leading scorer and the only upperclassman among its top six scorers, also managed 17 points in his junior campaign and can return as a senior.
“We’re going to be very good,” Salamie said.
Smith, too, is excited for this group’s seasons in upcoming years, despite the loss of seniors Eric Uhl, Casey Joy, Tom Gerwick and Brian Roach. Joy netted eight goals on the season while Roach handled face-off duties with Uhl and Gerwick anchoring the defense.
“The future is really bright with us,” Smith said. “We lose four key seniors who have meant a lot to our team and you can’t really replace their type of leadership, but this team is young, and their best game, they’re definitely in front of it. Hopefully we can take this disappointment and get into the summer and come back in the fall with a regained purpose on making a run.”
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @samlounz.