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CSU club lacrosse looks to finish strong after hitting a mid-season rough patch

CSU’s men’s lacrosse club endured a tough four-game slide, but its season is back on track after getting a much-needed win this weekend against Chapman University in Boulder.

Though the Rams started the season unbeaten through six games, including wins over in-state foe Northern Colorado and a 15-4 stomp over fellow Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference member Utah Valley, they dropped four in a row to Arizona State, Sonoma State, Florida State and Grand Canyon.

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Each contest was a battle, as the Rams only lost by a combined total of eight goals during the losing streak.

“We were so close at the end of games, so close to putting together a full game,” head coach Alex Smith said. “We were in control of each of those games at some point during the game, but we were never able to finish it.”

But Saturday, the Rams turned their luck around with a 15-12 victory against Chapman, though it almost went the other way. Early in the fourth quarter, Chapman evened the score at 12 and it looked like a story with a similar ending to the previous four games, but CSU rallied, rattling off three goals in the next three minutes to answer and recapture control until the buzzer.

Leading the Rams offensively so far this season is sophomore attackman Ashton Monheiser, with 21 goals and 8 assists to rank second in total points in the RMLC behind BYU’s Mike Fabrizio, who has notched 40 points.

“He’s an extremely skilled player, Ashton’s role is to score goals for us,” Smith said of his offensive leader.

As a freshman last year, Monheiser played midfielder, but as part of the attack this year he is back in the position he fielded while playing at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch.

“It seems that my skill set works well with our offense, so I get lots of good opportunities from my teammates and I try to pass it along to them so we can all work together and have a really good flow on offense,” Monhesier said.

This weekend holds a two-game road trip for CSU, as Smith and Monheiser lead the Rams into Michigan for games against Michigan State and Davenport Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

A bye occupies the following weekend, but after that, the Rams travel to Utah for three RMLC league games against BYU, Utah and Westminster before they return home to play rival Colorado at Hughes Stadium in the regular season finale Saturday, April 18.

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“We have to hit the ground running really hard in Michigan so we can carry that into Utah when we play BYU and then back home against CU in our last game,” Monheiser said.

According to Smith, the showdown with CU is the game the club looks forward to the most, and normally draws upwards of 5,000 fans to witness the intra-state rivalry.

“I think It’s really great for the sport of lacrosse,” Smith said of the widely attended CU game. “Getting the opportunity to play in Hughes, I know our guys are really excited for that, and Colorado is a really good lacrosse team.”

CU currently sits atop the RMLC league standings with an 8-2 overall record with a single conference win against Utah Valley. CSU took down the same foe for a 1-0 standing in the RMLC, but lags behind the Buffaloes with a 6-4 overall record.

The way things look right now, that finale in Hughes Stadium could be quite impactful on the RMLC’s final standings before post-season tournament play begins.

“I haven’t been so excited for anything in all of college yet,” Monhesier said of the upcoming battle with the Buffs.

Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @samlounz.

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