Two weeks after a double-OT thriller at Sports Authority Field, CSU and CU-Boulder will meet on the lacrosse field once again. This time, however, a spot in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference title game will be on the line.
The Rams play CU Friday at 7 p.m. in the second RMLC semifinal game in Grand Junction, Colo.
In the previous match up, CSU trailed 9-4 with six minutes remaining, but scored six goals in the final minutes to force overtime.
â€œItâ€™s not like we dominated the game, so it would be really silly for us to go into this game thinking weâ€™re a much better team than them,â€ CSU coach Alex Smith said. â€œWe got lucky in that last game.â€
Neither team has played since the April 21 showdown, and both have handled the time off differently.
CU had a very light week off immediately following the game, and gave its team some time off due to President Barack Obamaâ€™s visit to Boulder. The Buffaloes then scrimmaged with program alumni to try and simulate games.
CSU, conversely, has focused on recovering from nagging injuries and allowing its players to catch up academically.
â€œWe have some of the best athletes in the league,â€ CSU junior Dustin Grybinas said. â€œPlaying against our defense and our offense makes us better.â€
When the two teams collide with each other, it will be their fourth game in the past two years. CSU has won five consecutive games against the Buffaloes, including two in a row in the RMLC tournament.
â€œItâ€™s an interesting dynamic we have with our conference, weâ€™re very familiar with each other,â€ CU defensive coordinator Martin Taffet said. â€œSome of these guys played each other growing up, so you almost donâ€™t need a scouting report.â€
Whoever wins will play the winner of the first semifinal between Utah and BYU, and improve their standing with the selection committee for the upcoming national tournament.
â€œWeâ€™re in the national tournament, all weâ€™re talking about is seeding,â€ Smith said. â€œFor us thereâ€™s not that importance of â€˜we have to win.â€™ We want to win because we want to win.â€
CU isnâ€™t currently sitting as pretty. The Buffaloes are ranked No. 9 in the latest Menâ€™s Collegiate Lacrosse Association poll, but only have a 7-6 record for the season.
â€œTruthfully CU probably has more on the line,â€ Smith said. â€œOf course the game means a lot to us, I donâ€™t want to downplay it, but in terms of the national tournament it means more to CU.â€
Before either team can think about the national tournament, however, they need to handle their business in the RMLC tournament.
â€œWe canâ€™t control what the (national tournament) committee thinks,â€ Taffet said. â€œA win would be important, but playing a team like CSU, you canâ€™t look ahead.â€
Menâ€™s lacrosse Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.
RMLC Tournament Bracket (All games played at Walker Field in Grand Junction, Colo.)
Semi-Finals – Friday
1 BYU vs 4 Utah – 4 p.m.
2 CSU vs 3 CU-Boulder – 7 p.m.
Championship Game – 5 p.m. Saturday
BYU/Utah winner vs. CU/CSU winner