Grand Junction, CO – The #3 Colorado State Rams used an 11-2 scoring run in the first half and a standout performance by junior attackman Austin Fisher (Rock Canyon HS / Castle Rock, CO) to secure a 14-7 victory and their third consecutive RMLC title against #2 Brigham Young on Saturday afternoon. The Rams built a commanding 11-4 halftime advantage and scored three of the game’s final four goals to bring home the hardware on a pleasant spring afternoon on the campus of Colorado Mesa University.
BYU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead behind consecutive goals by midfielder Patrick Matheson, but the Rams got clicking in the latter portion of the period. A goal by Fisher off a BYU failed clear got the Rams on the board with 7:54 remaining in the frame and BYU answered right back on a goal by RMLC Offensive Player of the Year Ted Ferrin. But that was the last goal the Ram defense would give up for nearly 15 minutes of gametime as they watched their offense click in to high gear.
CSU finished the first quarter on a five goal scoring run, including two from sophomore attackman Sean Smith (Amherst HS / Amherst, NY). After BYU got the first goal of the second quarter to close the gap to 6-4, CSU rattled off five in a row again to end the second quarter, including a key goal by Fisher with just .05 seconds on the clock before halftime.
The 11-4 halftime lead was more than enough for the stalwart Rams’ defense, which played perhaps its most controlled game of the year against the high flying Cougars offense. Junior defenseman Hayden Porter (Heritage HS / Littleton, CO) did not allow Ferrin another point on the afternoon and the goaltending duo of Jack Regan (Sunset HS / Beaverton, OR) and Koltin Fatzinger (Wheat Ridge HS / Thornton, CO) combined for 12 saves to put a stamp on the proceedings.
The Rams put an exclamation point on the game with just :45 seconds left when long-stick midfielder Zach Arthur (Cherry Creek HS / Denver, CO) scored from midfield against BYU’s ten-man ride to finish the scoring.
Fisher ended the day with a game-high five points on four goals and one assist while Smith, sophomore attackman Kacy Carter (Rock Canyon HS / Castle Rock, CO) and junior midfielder Alex Devlin (Langley HS / Langley, VA) pitched in with two goals and one assist each. Four other Rams added one goal as well. Matheson led the Cougars with three goals and attackman Andrew Harding had two assists for BYU.
Face-offs were again a strong point for the Rams, as junior Dan Warfield (Smoky Hill HS / Aurora, CO) won 15 of 22 draws. Porter and senior Matt Jui (Columbine HS / Littleton, CO) led all players with five groundballs a piece as CSU won the groundball battle 32-21. The Rams also outshot BYU 44-31 on the afternoon and scored two man-up goals to BYU’s one.
Colorado State (15-2 overall) wins its third consecutive RMLC championship for the first time since 2002-2004 and will await the MCLA national tournament seeds to be announced on Sunday evening. The Rams have likely secured a top three spot in the tourney, which kicks off on Monday, May 14 in Greenville, SC. BYU falls to 16-3 but will very likely end the season somewhere in the top five as well.