Colorado State Beats Rival Colorado for MCLA Title
by Rudy Jones | LaxMagazine.com
|Godekeraw Award winner Austin
Fisher notched his 51st goal of the season in Colorado State's 7-2
win over Colorado for the MCLA-I championship Saturday night in
© Cecil Copeland
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Colorado State used a stifling defense to win its second consecutive MCLA national championship Saturday night, beating arch-rival Colorado 7-2 in the Division I final at Sirrine Stadium.
The Rams completed a 21-0 season. The only three losses for Colorado (18-3) came against CSU. This one, though, came more than 1,500 miles from either school and after four rounds of MCLA competition.
"It's crazy, but I'm not surprised at all, though," said Alex Smith, Colorado State's coach. "I knew they were the second-best team along with us. I'm really proud it could have come against them. We have such a good rivalry. For our fans and out teammates, it just means so much.
"They're really well-coached," Smith said. "I have a lot of respect for them. ... They did a great job defending us."
The Rams' defense was better, though, keeping the Buffaloes off the scoreboard until the first minute of the fourth quarter. Defenders Hayden Porter, Patrick Sullivan and Tyler Zabor shared the game's most valuable player honor.
Colorado used a different defensive strategy from the two regular-season meetings, going with a zone defense. Smith wasn't totally surprised.
"They played zone all last year," Smith said. "I had a feeling they would break the zone out at the tournament. We saw it in some other tournament games zoning us. They were really good at it, so it took us executing really well to get it done."
Sean Smith started the scoring with a goal at 5:09 of the first period.
"I thought we did a good job of jumping out to the early lead," Alex Smith said. "We had a feeling if we were playing with the lead that would be a good thing for us."
After an offsides penalty on Colorado, Smith got the Rams on the board again, connecting with 1:02 left in the quarter after a pass from Mike Wolff.
Kacy Carter blistered a shot past Colorado goalie Bradley Macnee with eight minutes left in the half to make the score 3-0.
Braxton Campbell tacked on the final score of the first half with 5:09 remaining.
The Buffaloes kept Colorado State off the scoreboard in the third period — thanks to a knee-save by goalie Bradley Macnee — but still had no luck getting on the scoreboard themselves.
Colorado finally broke up the shutout 55 seconds into the fourth quarter when Ryan Haines scored on a pass from Riley Seidel.
The Rams didn't give Colorado a chance to build any momentum from the score. After a slashing penalty, Colorado State's Jake Johnson scored during the man advantage to restore the four-goal cushion.
Carter banged home his second goal of the game at 8:20 of the fourth quarter and Godekeraw Award winner Austin Fisher capped the Rams' scoring with 4:56 remaining. It was his 51st goal of the season.
Still, Fisher praised his defensive teammates for their efforts. "In our fight song it says 'Stalwart' and that's the perfect word. When they can shut down the other team's offense and get us the ball, it gives us a lot of opportunities."
Tommies Repeat as D-II Champs
Earlier Saturday St. Thomas beat Westminster 9-7 at Sirrine Stadium on Saturday to win the MCLA Division II lacrosse championship for the second consecutive year and fourth time in the last five seasons.
The Tommies (17-0) fell behind 1-0 before scoring five straight goals. After Westminster tied the score at 5-5 in the third period, David Burke and Giuseppe Palermo scored goals seven seconds apart for a 7-5 lead.
The Griffins (17-6) pulled within a goal twice, but Matt Kleven provided the final margin when he scored just past the midpoint of the fourth quarter.
Palermo, selected most valuable player of the championship game, and Burke led the Tommies with two goals apiece.
Elias Fairman and Collin Madsen had two goals apiece for Westminster.