GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (5/6/11) – For the second time this season, the No. 7 University of Colorado men’s lacrosse team had their in-state rival on the ropes. And for the second time, the No. 3 Colorado State Rams pulled out a victory.
Austin Fisher’s goal 1:34 into the fourth quarter capped off a four goal run by CSU, and the Rams held on for the 9-8 victory over the Buffaloes on Friday in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Semifinals at Mesa State College’s Walker Field.
The loss ends a three game win streak for Colorado, dropping their overall record to 11-5 and 2-3 against conference opponents. The defeat was the first for the Buffs since Apr. 16 when they also lost 9-8 to the Rams, but at INVESCO Field at Mile High in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown.
The victory improves Colorado State’s records to 12-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference. The Rams will play No. 2 Brigham Young on Saturday in the RMLC Championship game after the Cougars defeated No. 14 Utah 11-5 in the other semifinals matchup.
Senior attackman A.J. Blackburn led the Buffs with a four point game, picking up one goal and three assists, while fellow senior Colin Rosenblum finished with two goals. Matt White, Jack Cranston, Darren Hulick, Tyler Dougherty and Hap Knowles also scored for CU. Sophomore goaltender Brad Macnee made 13 saves on 22 shots in net.
Colorado began the scoring 15 seconds into the game with a goal from Rosenblum and would go on to score four more goals in the first 5:29 of the contest, giving the Buffs an early 5-0 lead. Fisher ended the CU run with his first goal of the game with 4:19 left in the first quarter. The Rams scored again 4:15 into the second, cutting the Buffs’ lead to three, but Rosenblum answered back for CU three minutes later, extending the lead back to four. Colorado held a 6-3 lead at halftime after CSU found the back of the cage again later in the quarter.
The second half began with CU and CSU both exchanging two goals, keeping the Buffs three goal lead intact. However, the Rams scored three goals in the final five minutes of the third quarter to tie the game at eight, and set the stage for Fisher’s game winner early in the fourth.
Throughout the fourth quarter, Colorado had some good looks and fired some good shots on net, but CSU goaltender Andy Flax denied every CU chance. With nearly two minutes left to play, the Buffs had possession in the Rams end, but an unforced turnover by CU and a penalty with 1:05 left on the goalie Macnee solidified the victory for Colorado State.
Even with the loss in the conference semifinals, the Buffaloes will still likely go to Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Championships later this month, as CU has good road victories against No. 10 Boston College, No. 11 Oregon and No. 14 Utah, and close losses to No. 2 BYU, No. 3 CSU twice and No. 5 Chapman.
The tournament field for the May 17-21 National Championships at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., will be announced on Sunday evening.