After becoming national champions in 1999 and 2001, the CSU men’s lacrosse team fell short of winning another championship last spring by just a few goals.
The team was one of three CSU club teams, including baseball and women’s polo, that played in national championship games for their sport last year.
During the regular season, the Rams had an impressive record of 17-5 and won the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Lacrosse League. They concluded the spring with a trip to St. Louis for the national tournament, where they crushed the University of Washington 21-4, overcame Stanford in overtime 10-9 and defeated the University of California at Santa Barbara 12-9 in the semifinals before losing to Sonoma State 13-10 in the championship game.
One of the most memorable events in CSU Lacrosse history occurred last spring when they were part of the first club game ever played at Hughes Stadium. According to the team’s website (www.csulacrosse.com), close to 3,000 fans attended the game, which is believed to be the largest crowd in United States Lacrosse Intercollegiate Association history.
Going into the game, CSU was ranked No. 1 in the nation but failed to pull off the victory, losing 17-10 against No. 2-ranked Brigham Young University. The Cougars might have won that game, but CSU got its revenge, beating them 16-7 in the RMILL championship game.
Another outstanding achievement came when the Rams graced the cover of Lacrosse Magazine. Inside CSU was given a No. 2 ranking behind BYU and ahead of Sonoma State.
“It is quite an honor to appear on the cover of a national magazine,” said Bill Hill club sports director. “It proves how good the program really is.”?
Flip Naumburg is beginning his seventh year as head coach of the CSU lacrosse team. He received national recognition when he won the Coach of the Year Award in 1999 and has earned international acclaim as the director of the annual Vail Shootout, which is one of the biggest lacrosse tournaments in the world.
Two outstanding players return to the Rams this year: junior Mark Plonkey, who won the RMILL Defensive Player of the Year award last spring, and sophomore middle fielder Tim Farquhar.
“Tim is a great player and a projected All-American,” Naumburg said.
CSU is one of 12 teams in the RMILL, which includes the University of Colorado and BYU. League games and nationals take place in the spring, while the fall season is more focused on building the team and playing in tournaments.
Two major events to take place this fall are the annual alumni game Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. and a trip to Las Vegas in late October that has become a tradition for CSU.
The spring should bring excitement, as Oregon and defending national champion-Sonoma State will travel to CSU. The team’s spring break will be spent in Florida where it will play teams like Florida State University and Virginia Tech.
“The fall season is like tryouts and an opportunity to figure out our team’s potential,” Naumburg said.
The lacrosse team practices everyday at 4 p.m. and there is an informational meeting Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center for all of those interested.