CSU lacrosse loses hard-fought battle against UCSB

Junior Guerrero

The Colorado State men’s club lacrosse team took on the University of California, Santa Barbara Thursday night that resulted in a tough 8-6 loss. This is the second consecutive game that slipped away from the team.

Player runs
Senior AJ Stewart craddles the ball while a Cal Poly player defends him during the first quarter. CSU lost to Cal Poly with a score of 9-7. (Julia Bailey | Collegian)

The Rams came out during a chilly afternoon on fire and on a mission. They seemed to be clicking on all cylinders when they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first eleven minutes of the game.

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Senior attacker AJ Stewart put the Rams on the board first with a shot that snuck past the keeper and hit the back of the net. Senior midfielder Zach VanCompernolle followed Stewart’s lead when he managed to scoop the ball in from right in front of the net. Stewart would then tack on another goal to make the score 3-0.

Freshman midfielder Grant Breeden played a big part in helping the Rams get on the scoreboard with his two assists.

“I try to contribute anyway I can, whether that’s scoring or getting an assist,” Breeden said.

The game seemed to be in control by the Rams until they took their foot off the gas and let Gauchos back in the game. UCSB added a goal at the end of the first quarter to make the score 3-1 Rams. They followed this up with two more goals in nine minutes to tie the game 3-3.

The Rams regained the lead at the end of the second quarter with a goal from junior attacker Dominic Santor. This gave the Rams a 4-3 lead going into halftime.

As the third quarter began, freshman midfielder Josh Kelly put the Rams up 5-3 in just two minutes. This looked like a perfect opportunity for the Rams to put the game to bed but the Gauchos had other ideas.

The Gauchos went on to score three goals in three minutes to take the lead 6-5 at the end of the third quarter. This sucked all the life out of the crowd and the players wearing white and green. All the momentum found its way onto the Gauchos side and the Rams could never regain it back.

The fourth quarter started with two more goals from the Gauchos in just four minutes, giving them a three-goal lead. With five minutes remaining, Stewart managed to find the back of the net for the third time in the game. This gave Stewart his hat trick and put the Rams within two, but the game had already been sealed.

Despite a strong start and a hat trick from Stewart, The Rams could not overcome the offense of the Gauchos.

“The first half is great. We’re having fun, we’re confident and then then in the second half we’re just trying to figure out a way to get that all to stay the same,” Stewart said.

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“We’re a talented team,” head coach Ryan MacDonald said. “We have the good stick skills, we have the good composure in the right times, and we have everything that we need. It’s just putting it all together and just getting back to the fundamentals.”

The Rams head into a difficult part in their schedule where they will take on No. 2 Utah at home on Thursday. The game will begin at 7 p.m. on the Intramural fields at CSU.

Collegian sports reporter Junior Guerrero can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @juniorg45.