The Colorado State men’s lacrosse team will host in-state rival University of Colorado,on April 15 in what is being dubbed the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown.
The Rams are seeking a victorious conclusion to the regular season, coming off a close 7-6 loss to Utah. The team has been involved in eight one-goal games and currently sits third in the RMLC at 9-6 on the season.
“I’d love to be sitting here and saying that we hadn’t played so many one goal games,” head coach Ted Fifield said. “But on the flipside, it has developed a resiliency within our team. It breeds a certain belief that even when we’re down, we still have a fighting chance.”
Boulder has won 11 of their last 12 matches and resides in second in the conference, with the tiebreaker going to the Buffalos by way of their overall record bettering that of the Rams.
“The biggest factor for Saturday is putting everything we’ve learned together this season,” senior attacker A.J Stewart said. “When you’ve been playing for 15 games, you have to combine that chemistry and go all or nothing.”
The Rams will be led by senior captain and points leader Ashton Monheiser. Monheiser leads the Rams with 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) this season and will be competing in his final regular season game.
“(My emotions) are pretty high,” Monheiser said. “Especially because it’s against our instate rival CU. Since I’ve been here, we’ve never beat CU, so this is a really big game for us.”
CU will showcase a zone look on defense to accompany their high-powered offense. The Rams will look to quality passing and aggressive attacking to avoid being stagnated by the Buffalo’s defense.
“(Passing) is one of the most important things,” Monheiser said. “You have to be able to move the ball around quick because once that defense gets moving, you can find holes in the defense.”
As usual, the Rams will look to play off their own defense to gain momentum on the attacking half and score quick. A stellar game on both sides of the ball will be the key to upsetting the second-ranked Buffalos, according to Fifield.
“I think being defensively stout is going to be a big part of (winning),” Fifield said. “I think offensively, the key will be putting our guys in a situation where they can be consistently threatening.”
With 16 seniors making up just under 33 percent of the roster, sophomore Blake Warner believes the senior leadership will play a pivotal role in the contest and also heading into the playoffs.
“(Senior leadership) is really important because those are the guys that the rest of the team looks up to,” Warner said. “They’ve been here the longest and they know how everything works.”
CSU will be looking to enter the national tournament for second time in many years and seeks to improve on their 0-2 showing in last year’s playoffs.
“Every game for the rest of the year is effectively a playoff game,” Fifield said. “This is our last regular season game, but it’s CU, so it’s a playoff game as far as everyone is concerned.”
The Rams will be playing on Lagoon field Saturday at 12:00 p.m. to celebrate senior day as well as the game being their hall of fame game in remembrance of CSU alumni. Students will be charged $5 for entry while general admission is $10.
“I think (fan support) is huge,” Monheiser said. “I think the more people we get out there, the better. It’s really great to hear the fans, especially against our rival.”
Collegian sports reporter Luke Zahlmann can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @lukezahlmann