Fort Collins, CO – The campus of Colorado State University was abuzz on Friday night as #4 Cal Poly came calling to take on the #1 CSU Rams. In one of the more entertaining and physical games in several years, the two teams traded runs and battled to the end before Cal Poly finally came out on top with a game-winning goal by midfielder Peter Chiang with just :15 seconds left in the first overtime period to take a hard fought 9-8 victory over the home squad. The defeat spoiled CSU’s 9-0 start to the season and a huge on-campus crowd, not to mention marking the Rams’ first home loss since April 11, 2010.
After CSU raced out to a 5-1 halftime lead, Cal Poly scratched their way back in the game in the third quarter, scoring four straight goals to set up an epic fourth quarter and overtime session. The Rams scored two goals in under 10 seconds to jump back out to a 7-5 lead with 10:22 remaining, but another key run by Poly put the Mustangs in front 8-7 with 4:36 remaining. CSU’s Greyson Konkel (Regis Jesuit HS / Aurora, CO) tied the game with only :36 left to send the game to overtime to set up Chiang’s theatrics.
Colorado State won the opening face-off of the overtime period and had a terrific chance on the ensuing break, but Cal Poly’s Bo Dunnaho-Kirsch was up to the task and turned the shot aside. CSU was unable to capitalize on the ensuing opportunity but held serve on the defensive end to regain possession. After a frantic couple of minutes, CSU eventually turned the ball over on a clear and Chiang took advantage by beating his man down the right alley and ending the game with a snappy shot on the run.
Ultimately, the Rams were undone by 19 turnovers, including three in the overtime period alone and three in Cal Poly’s key third quarter comeback. While the Rams won all statistical categories, including face-offs, shots and groundballs, they were unable to capitalize down the stretch and Poly gained momentum as the second half wore on. The Mustangs relied on a relentless offensive attack and spread scoring, not to mention a very solid second-half defensive performance to secure the victory.
CSU’s junior face-off midfielder Dan Warfield (Smoky Hill HS / Aurora, CO) was impressive, going 14 of 21 at the ‘x’ on the evening, including the highlight reel win at the start of overtime that very nearly ended the game. Both teams had balanced scoring efforts with CSU’s sophomore attackman Kacy Carter (Rock Canyon HS / Castle Rock, CO) leading all scorers with five points on two goals and three assists. Cal Poly’s Brian Kovary had a hat-trick and one assist to lead the Mustangs and attackman Olivier Schmied pitched in with three points as well. For CSU, junior attackman Austin Fisher (Rock Canyon HS / Highlands Ranch, CO) had three points and Konkel had two goals.
Both teams used two goalies for a half each in the game. Cal Poly’s Nick Czapla and Dunnahoo-Kirsch each had five saves while Jack Regan (Sunset HS / Beaverton, OR) registered five stops in his half of work before yielding to fellow sophomore Koltin Fatzinger (Wheat Ridge HS / Thornton, CO), who had three in the second half and overtime. CSU was 2/4 on man-up and Cal Poly scored once in their three chances.
Colorado State (9-1 overall, 0-0 RMLC) has a day off before taking on Southern Methodist on Sunday at noon on campus. Then they will welcome the likely new #1 team in the country, the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos to town next Thursday. Cal Poly moves their record to 7-1 and will get SMU on Saturday afternoon at the Loveland Sports Park before returning home next weekend for a key three-game homestand that finishes with #5 Chapman next Saturday.