Highlands Ranch, CO – The #2 Colorado State Rams rallied from five down to make it a one-goal game in the fourth quarter against #3 Brigham Young but were unable to complete the comeback in a disappointing 8-6 loss to their Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference rivals on Saturday night. BYU jumped out to leads of 4-0, 5-2 and 7-2 before CSU stormed back in the third quarter, but the Cougars held strong on defense to secure an important victory in the Rams’ annual Hall of Fame Game.
BYU, coming off a loss to #15 Colorado on Thursday night, was sharp early on, scoring on some transition opportunities and pinpoint shooting. The Cougars led 2-0 before the game was barely three minutes old and fired home two more before the first quarter ended. CSU finally got on the scoreboard with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter to stay within striking distance, but BYU’s damage had been done and CSU found themselves in the unfamiliar position of chasing their opponent all game long.
After a stalemate in the second quarter that gave BYU a 5-2 halftime advantage, the Cougars again came out firing to start the third, banging home two goals in the first four minutes of the quarter to give them their biggest lead of the game at 7-2. But CSU finally found an answer, turning to senior midfielder Matt Jui (Columbine HS / Littleton, CO), who scored two goals in less than a minute to get the Rams back in the game.
CSU scored twice more to close out the third to make it a 7-6 game heading into the final quarter, but that’s as close as the Rams got as BYU’s defense tightened down to hold on for the win. CSU outshot BYU 8-4 in the final frame, including some very good looks at goal, but were unable to capitalize to tie it up. Colorado native Jared Houghton scored on an empty net for BYU to punctuate the win for the Cougars.
Ultimately, BYU’s dominant first period proved to be the difference, particularly in the category of groundballs, where the Cougars scooped up 11 to CSU’s five. Almost all statistical categories were relatively even, with the exception of total shots, which CSU dominated 41-24. The Rams poured 14 shots toward the BYU goal in their third quarter run and eight more in the fourth, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Sean Smith (Amherst HS / Amherst, NY) led all scorers with four assists while Houghton’s three points paced the Cougars. A host of players pitched in for both teams with two points each. Both teams used one goalie in the contest as CSU’s Jack Regan (Sunset HS / Beaverton, OR) made seven saves on the evening and BYU’s Wes Goar had 10, including four key stops in the fourth quarter alone.
Colorado State (11-2 overall, 0-1 RMLC) has now lost two games by a combined three goals to the #1 and #3 teams in the country and will look to bounce back against the University of Utah, a currently unranked conference foe. BYU returns home from their trip at 12-2 and 2-1 in conference and will play local rivals Westminister and Utah to close their seasons.
At halftime of the contest, the CSU Lacrosse Alumni Association honored four new members of the CSULAA Hall of Fame. Charlie Cottingham, Rob Perella, Matt Smith and Kale Nelson are the team’s 2012 inductees, joining 13 current members to bring the total count to 18. CSU is now 2-2 all-time in Hall of Fame Games, losing in double OT to Michigan in 2008, defeating BYU in 2010 and ASU in 2011.