CSU club lacrosse clinches conference tournament bid on Utah road trip

Sam Lounsberry

A.J. Stewart (24), attacks the net during CSU's 12-11 win over BYU Saturday. (Photo Courtesy: Roman Creech/ CSU Lacrosse)
A.J. Stewart (24), attacks the net during CSU’s 12-11 win over BYU Saturday. (Photo Courtesy: Roman Creech/ CSU Lacrosse)

CSU’s club lacrosse team used its three-game road trip to Utah from Thursday to Sunday to secure a Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference tournament spot, despite capping it off with a loss to Westminster.

CSU started off its journey with a rivalry win over No. 2 BYU in Provo, Utah, Thursday. The Rams were seeking vengeance as they lost two to the the Cougars last year, and overcame an early 3-0 deficit to have theirs. Sophomore Brian Taggart and freshman Brandon Dyte closed out the opening quarter with two goals for the Rams to pull them within one, 3-2.

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The second quarter brought a 6-2 run for the Rams to put them up 8-5 going into the break, and sophomore Ashton Monheiser, who has been CSU’s most consistent scorer this season, added another goal almost immediately out of halftime to give CSU its biggest lead of the game. BYU closed out the third on a run, though, to cut it to 10-8 before the fourth.

With 10:20 to go, the Cougars tied it, but CSU junior Brian Allen answered with a goal to keep the Rams in front 11-10. Then the Cougars’ Alec Grant answered that to tie it again at 11. Sophomore Chase Warner gave the Rams the final goal they needed to win 12-11. David Salamie and Jake Bender split time in the net for the Rams, notching nine saves and eight saves, respectively.

Saturday, the Rams traveled to Salt Lake City for a bout with Utah. They sailed easily past the Utes 17-5 to give themselves a 3-0 record in the RMLC and guarantee a tournament berth.

CSU head coach Alex Smith emptied his bench in the blowout against the Utes, who have struggled through the season with an 0-4 RMLC mark and 2-9 overall record, to give some younger players experience. 17 different Rams had either a goal or an assist Saturday. Fort Collins High School product A.J. Stewart and freshman Grant Alfred both recorded two goals and an assist to lead CSU with three points a piece.

Sole possession of first place in the RMLC was up for grabs Sunday when the Rams faced the Westminster Griffins. CSU fell 14-11, though, losing its perfect RMLC mark to drop to 3-1 while the Griffins moved to 3-0 and 7-3 overall while also clinching a tournament berth.

Joining CSU (9-6, 3-1 RMLC) and Westminster in the four-team RMLC tournament starting the first week of May will be BYU (11-3, 1-2 RMLC) and Colorado (11-4, 3-1 RMLC), though final seedings have yet to be decided. The Rams play rival CU Saturday at Hughes Stadium at 6 p.m. in their regular season finale.

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