Senior midfielder Kyle Driver is tripped up as he loses a ground ball to CSU defensemen during the Buff's 9-8 loss to the Rams on Saturday at Invesco Field at Mile High. (CU Independent/Andrew Kaczmarerk)
Despite a comeback in the fourth quarter, the Buffs couldn’t overcome their in-state rival.
The No. 6 CU men’s club lacrosse (8-4) lost to the No. 2 Colorado State Rams (10-1) 9-8 at Invesco Field at Mile High Saturday night. CSU now has a 22-2 record over the Buffs since 2000, and have won two straight in the series.
“It was a tale of two halves really,” CU head coach Mike Ryder said. “We definitely came out fired up early in the game, but we weren’t executing on the defensive end. Offensively, we were okay but our defense was hurting us so bad that our momentum wasn’t carrying over to the offensive end.”
CSU drew first blood with just over a minute played. The Buffs managed to get a goal back through sophomore attacker Jack Cranston, but the Rams kept coming. They scored four in a row to close out the first quarter with a 5-1 lead.
CU opened the scoring in the second quarter, but couldn’t find away to get back into the game. CSU stretched their lead to 7-2 before the Buffs scored again. Things seemed bleak for the Buffs with 3:15 left in the half, as CSU senior attacker Cooper Kehoe fired the ball into the back of the net, making it an 8-3 game.
The scoring came to a stand still in the third quarter. The Buffs picked up their intensity on defense, but couldn’t find the back of the net. A break came with 1:33 left in the third, as Cranston found the net for his third goal on the night.
The Buffs came alive in the fourth quarter, and got themselves back into game. Going on a 5-0 run, including a fourth goal from Cranston, the Buffs tied the game up. With their once-quiet fans behind them, the Buffs went in search of a winner. The goal never came, and CSU found the back of the net with 6:20 left to seal their win.
After the game, the players said they were happy with their second-half defense.
“The defense really stepped up, and they held their part,” said Cranston. “The offense scored five [goals], but we needed one more.”
Senior attacker AJ Blackburn said that they will use next week’s practices to help eliminate the small errors that cost the Buffs
“We’re going to have a tough week of practice, a lot of conditioning, a lot of stick work, clean it up,” Blackburn said. “That little stuff will make one goal differences go our way.”
Cranston gave his teammates most of the credit for his four-goal game.
“I think other guys were giving me opportunities,” Cranston said. “A.J. was pulling a lot of attention and I think because of that, it pulled a little off of me and I was able to finish my shots.”
The Buffs will head to Boston College April 22, and the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. on April 23.
The Buffs are looking to build up some momentum on their road trip.
“Momentum is huge,” said Blackburn. “We just went 3-0 in the Pacific Northwest a few weeks ago and we are going out to Boston looking to do the same thing and roll in the RMLC playoffs and hopefully steal one against BYU or CSU.”
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Mark McNeillie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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