Grand Junction, Colo. – Saturday was a gorgeous evening for lacrosse on the campus of Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO as two of the country’s best MCLA programs got together to determine the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference championship. Behind the standout efforts of senior attackman Austin Fisher (Rock Canyon HS / Highlands Ranch, CO) and face-off specialist Dan Warfield (Smoky Hill HS / Aurora, CO), the #1 Colorado State Rams took down the #2 Colorado Buffaloes 9-6 to win their fourth straight RMLC title and likely secure the #1 seed in the upcoming MCLA national tournament.
The Rams and Buffs were tied 1-1 late in the second quarter before a key two-goal run just minutes before the half gave CSU a cushion heading into the second half. After Fisher struck on man-up early in the third quarter, CU bounced back with two goals of their own to make it 4-3. But Colorado State had one more run in them, reeling off three straight markers to grab a 7-3 lead with 10:00 left that proved insurmountable as the teams headed to the finish. The teams traded goals to end the game in the fourth quarter, but the Buffs just could not get over the hump to defeat their rivals.
Both teams were a little tight on offense early on, especially CSU, who had 11 first half turnovers. But Warfield’s dominance at the face-off ‘x’ and a stalwart defensive effort were keys in keeping the Rams in the game until the offense was able to get things moving late in the second quarter. Warfield was a perfect 6 for 6 in the first half, finished with 13 of 18 totals, and led all players with five groundballs on the night.
Fisher scored all four of his goals in the second half while three of his fellow attackmen were cashing in as well. Junior Sean Smith (Amherst HS / Amherst, NY) had two goals and two assists, junior Kacy Carter (Rock Canyon HS / Castle Rock, CO) had two goals, and sophomore Mike Wolff (Don Bosco Prep / Ramsey, NJ) got in the act with three assists as well.
The Buffs were led by Riley Seidel and Greg Kelsic, who each had two goals and one assist. Bradle Macnee had 10 saves for Colorado while CSU’s duo of Jack Regan (Sunset HS / Portland, OR) and Koltin Fatzinger (Wheat Ridge HS / Thornton, CO) combined for 11 in the win.
For the second consecutive game, Colorado outshot the Rams, but the CSU defense was up to the task in holding the Buffs off the scoreboard in key moments of the game. The Rams made their most hay in the groundball department, winning that category decisively 30-18 and taking 13 of 19 total face-offs to help give CSU the edge in possession time throughout.
With the victory, Colorado State (17-0 overall, 5-0 RMLC) will very likely end up as the #1 seed in the MCLA tournament that kicks off on Monday, May 13 in Greenville, South Carolina. The win marked the first time in league history that anyone has won four straight RMLC titles, a particularly impressive feat given the success the conference has had on the national stage.
The Buffaloes (15-2 overall, 4-1 RMLC), who were ranked #2 both in the RMLC and nationally coming into the conference tourney will likely be a high seed as well. Seeds and match-ups will be announced on Monday as both teams await their first round opponents.