CSU women’s lacrosse challenges nation’s best in Mile High Invitational

The CSU women's lacrosse team practices on the West Lawn wednesday afternoon. The Rams will play in the Mile High Invitational this weekend in Boulder.
The CSU women’s lacrosse team practices on the West Lawn wednesday afternoon. The Rams will play in the Mile High Invitational this weekend in Boulder.

Nelly has something in common with the CSU women’s lacrosse team. “I am number one, two is not a winner and three nobody remembers,” the rapper sings.

On Friday, the top-ranked Rams travel to Boulder for the annual Mile High Invitational, where they will take on the country’s No. 2 and No. 3 teams.

The tournament was previously held in Fort Collins, but moved last year due to logistical reasons.

“They have a really nice turf field, which makes a difference,” senior captain Sarah Langlie said. “It’d be nice to play here and have our home base, but we’ve played a lot of intense away games and done well, so we aren’t too concerned.”

The intensity continues, with a tough weekend schedule against the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs, No. 3 Michigan Wolverines and the No. 13 Santa Clara Broncos.

“I’m really wanting revenge on Michigan,” senior captain Maddie Garcia said. “They made us look kinda bad in the Santa Barbara Shoot Out in 2012.”

But the Rams have more on the menu for Saturday than revenge. The Bulldogs are the only other undefeated team in the nation, and they are looking to put the first “L” on the Rams’ record.

“This is a huge test for our team,” Langlie said. “This is the make or break of our season, we are looking forward to proving to everyone that we are number 1 and there is a reason we are undefeated.”

Even heading to Boulder is not daunting to the team, but a stress reliever, because they only have to focus on the game, not the organization of a national tournament.

However, CU club sports director Kristopher Schoech, is just excited about the upper-hand playing at home will give the Buffs.

“We have some of the top teams in the country playing,” he said. “But CU is going to play well on their home turf, I suspect they will be ready to go this weekend.”

Since the Rams and the Buffs will not be going head to head, the extra boost for a fellow Colorado team can’t hurt.

Still, Schoech recognizes the threat CSU poses as the undefeated number one team.

“We were hoping last year’s national champion (UC Davis) would come, but they couldn’t make it,” Schoech said. “But with CSU in the mix, it’s great to have that. They will be very good.”

Many things have contributed to the success the team has relished in this season, one of which being their lack of a super star. Of the 12 starters who take the field, there is not easy standout for MVP.

“You look at the stats and think, ‘wow, that person is a great shooter,’” CSU coach Lindsey Hudek said. “But then you look at the next person, who is great at assists, and somebody else is good at draws. Everybody is great.”

The chemistry and trust developed over the years between the starters is visible in the way the team interacts socially, and on the field. They play for the love of the game.

“At this point in the season, the nerves start getting to us and we start getting burnt out,” Garcia said. “At this point, it’s up the individuals and the other leaders on the team to pump each other up, we have been working really well as a team.”

Women’s lacrosse beat reporter Cali Rastrelli can be reached at sports@collegian.com.