CSU lacrosse aims for ninth RMLC title

Junior midfielder Ethan Lahoda, 43, makes a pass to a teamate during lacrosse practice. Today at 4 p.m. the team will be playing in the RMLC Playoffs in Grand Junction against Utah.
Junior midfielder Ethan Lahoda, 43, makes a pass to a teamate during lacrosse practice. Today at 4 p.m. the team will be playing in the RMLC Playoffs in Grand Junction against Utah.

This weekend, the CSU lacrosse team will set out to do the unprecedented. They are playing to win their fourth-straight title in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Championships.

The first-seeded Rams will begin their title defense against fourth-seeded Utah Friday afternoon in Grand Junction.

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Utah went 2-3 in the division and 7-9 on the season. In their first match up of the season, only a month ago, the Rams defeated the Utes on their own field 13-2.

For captains Austin Fisher, Alex Devlin, Tyler Zabor, Patrick Sullivan and the slate of exceptional seniors on this Rams team, a conference title would complete a historic run.

“It’s something that we’ve been in every year and we have won every year so there is a lot of pride on the line,” Zabor said. “It can also carry over to nationals if we play well, so we want to bring everything that we have this weekend.”

The playoffs present an opportunity for the Rams to put their game to the test after an undefeated regular season. After tearing through their conference schedule, CSU will have a target on their backs and will get the best out of each of their opponents.

“In some ways, we keep a lot of our same mentality that we had in the regular season,” Fisher said. “At the same time, we turn a new page, and our record is 0-0 at this point. We want to make sure that we are peaking at the end of the season and building off of everything we have already done.”

A first round win against Utah would set the Rams up for an electric rematch with one of their two biggest rivals. No. 2 CU-Boulder and No. 5 BYU make up the other semifinal match up.

“Playing in the RMLC is already an incredible opportunity because there are very few people that would not consider this the best league in the country,” BYU coach Matt Schneck said. “Every year it’s a battle between one of these three teams, so having the opportunity to play CSU and CU in the regular season and then play them again in the conference championship is a great thing.”

After falling to the Rams 13-5 in the regular season, Schneck and BYU are looking forward to the chance to have a rematch against the Rams.

“This CSU team has been fantastic, they had a great season last year and they are peaking now, and doing a great job,” Schneck said. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to play them again and see if we can do something that we weren’t able to do the last time, which is play a more competitive game and have greater success.”

With three of the top five teams in the country competing against one another, the RMLC Championship promises to be one of the best lacrosse tournaments of the year.

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“Either way we are going to be playing one of our biggest rivals, so we are just going to take it one game at a time,” CSU senior attack Kacy Carter said. “We are going to focus on the goals we have set for ourselves during the week and whoever we play, we plan to execute well.”

Club Sports Beat Reporter Tyrus Coder can be reached at sports@collegian.com.