Fort Collins, CO – It was Hall of Fame Day as the top ranked Colorado State Rams welcomed the 2nd ranked Colorado Buffaloes to Hughes Stadium for the 11th annual Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown on Saturday afternoon. The Rams did not disappoint the estimated 4,500 in attendance, outscoring the Buffs 6-2 in the middle two quarters en route to an 8-3 victory that clinched the number one seed for CSU in the upcoming RMLC playoffs.
At halftime of the game, four new members were inducted to the CSU Lacrosse Alumni Association Hall of Fame. Pete Mottram, Patrick Coy, Nick Stanitz-Harper, Ryan Davis and honorary inductee Dr. Ron Krugman were all celebrated on a festive afternoon in the university’s football stadium.
Both teams played well on defense in the opening frame. Ryan Haines finally opened the scoring for CU with four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, but senior midfielder Tim Taggart (Mountain Vista HS / Highlands Ranch, CO) struck just thirty seconds later to tie it up heading into the second.
The Rams got three goals in the second frame while holding CU to just one to give CSU a 4-2 lead heading into halftime. Junior goaltender Jack Regan (Sunset HS / Beaverton, OR) turned in a sparkling first half, registering seven saves to help the Rams stay out in front.
Coming out of the halftime break, CU struck first on a goal by Matt White, but the Rams rattled off a key three-goal run in just over two minutes of game time that was punctuated when sophomore midfielder Gus Brunger (Castle View HS / Castle Rock, CO) barreled down the alley and buried one to make it 7-3.
From there, the Rams defense held off an increasingly desperate Colorado squad that fired off 11 fourth quarter shots. Junior goaltender Koltin Fatzinger (Wheat Ridge HS / Thornton, CO) played extremely well in his second half of action, coming up with seven saves of his own to help the Rams to victory.
No one scored more than twice for the Rams in a balanced and complete effort over their rivals from Boulder. Brunger and senior attackman Austin Fisher (Rock Canyon HS / Highlands Ranch, CO) each had a goal and an assist to lead all players with two points while the senior crew of Hayden Porter (Heritage HS / Littleton, CO), Tyler Zabor (Rock Canyon HS / Highlands Ranch, CO) and Patrick Sullivan (Heritage HS / Littleton, CO) were suffocating on the defensive end.
Junior long-stick midfielder Zach Arthur (Cherry Creek HS / Denver, CO) was outstanding as well, tying CU’s Riley Seidel with four groundballs for game-high honors. The Buffs won 6/8 face-offs in the first half before senior Dan Warfield (Smoky Hill HS / Aurora, CO) turned things around, helping propel the Rams to a 6-0 advantage in that department over the final thirty minutes.
With CU firing shots in the fourth quarter, the Rams ended up being outshot 34-23 on the game, but a healthy 26-18 advantage on groundballs and the second half face-off dominance gave CSU numerous extra possessions as the game wore down.
Colorado State (15-0 overall, 5-0 RMLC) has concluded regular season play for the 2013 season and holds the #1 seed heading into the RMLC playoffs in two weeks. The Rams will await the loser of next weekend’s BYU vs. Utah tilt in Provo, UT. The loss was the first of the season for Colorado (14-1 overall, 4-1 RMLC) who will play the winner of that game in the RMLC semifinals, taking place in Grand Junction, CO on the campus of Colorado Mesa University. Game times will be decided when the field is officially set.