After a disappointing loss in the national semifinals last season, the CSU men’s lacrosse club team is determined to rebound and build on the success it has enjoyed in previous years.
CSU has won national championships four of the past 10 years and is looking to capture another this season. After a rough start, the Rams recovered quickly, winning seven of their last eight games.
CSU (7-2) made a major statement Tuesday afternoon, defeating the University of Oregon at home, handing the Ducks their first loss of the season. Oregon knocked off the Rams twice last season, including a heart-breaking defeat in the national semifinals.
Rams coach Flip Naumburg said the win was not only important to his team’s confidence, but also to its national reputation.
“It’s huge because we were on the edge of falling a bunch of places in the national poll,” Naumburg said. “It is important for us as far as seeding. The difference between second or third and tenth was (Tuesday).”
For senior Ryan MacDonald, the win goes a long way to help avenge last season’s defeats.
“This win went all the way back to last year,” he said. “They weren’t ready for us.”
MacDonlad added that the rivalry between the teams has accelerated to the point where he hates Oregon more than perennial rival, University of Colorado.
Goalie Garrett Fitzgerald says that it is important for the team to draw momentum from such an important victory, especially with two more games this week.
“It was big for us,” the senior said. “This got us back on track and it was a good team win because we all played well. What’s nice is that we have a couple of more games this week. Hopefully we can keep pressing on.”
MacDonald agreed, explaining that CSU’s biggest victory of the year only matters if they develop momentum from it.
“We just have to go into practice the next day and carry it over,” he said. “This game is over and we have to move on to the next one.”
The Rams are scheduled to finish off their home stand this week, hosting Cal Poly in a showdown today at 4 p.m. and beginning division play against the University of Utah on Saturday.
Fitzgerald still sees a lot of work that needs to be done, but is confident that the teamwork the Rams have based their season on will see them through.
“To be successful we have to play as a team,” he said. “Everyday at practice we get a little better. We have so much potential, but the real test is seeing if we can reach it.”
Sports reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.