It is the oldest sport in North America. A game developed by
Native Americans sometime in the 15th century, adopted as the
Canadian national sport and developed in eastern cities and
colleges before 1900. Lacrosse gained extreme popularity on the
East Coast but has only recently started to gain a strong fan base
in the West.
The first collegiate-level lacrosse game was played between New
York University and Manhattan College in November 1877. At that
time CSU was still the Agricultural College of Colorado.
The CSU Rams lacrosse team, a club team fighting for a slice of
the CSU fans’ attention, will be in a national spotlight when it
takes to the field Sunday at the Pepsi Center in the first indoor
collegiate game in lacrosse history. The game will be lacrosse’s
version of the Rocky Mountain Showdown and will pit rivals CSU and
the University of Colorado against each other. When these two
schools compete, the intensity is raised an extra level.
As part of the National Lacrosse League’s All-Star Game
festivities the game will put arguably the state’s best lacrosse
clubs against each other on a grand stage. In the 127 years
lacrosse has been played in colleges all across America, never has
a game been played indoors, and with boards separating the fans and
players, it should add to the already intense rivalry – not to
mention the change in game plan for the Rams.
“We’ve practiced it,” CSU head coach Flip Naumburg said of the
style of play.
He added that the biggest struggle will be “keeping the team
together” after he had to trim the team’s roster of about 20
players for the game.
Since 1999 CSU has played CU 10 times, nine of which have gone
CSU’s way. CU’s only win came in 2000 when the Buffaloes shocked
CSU at home with a 16-13 victory. Between the two teams, goals
aren’t foreign; the only time CSU has been held to a single-digit
score against CU occurred in the last meeting these two had. CSU
won 7-5. CU, on the other hand, rarely reaches double figures when
going against the stingy Rams’ defense. The only time the Buffs
have scored more than seven points in the series since their upset
win was last year in the teams’ first meeting. That was exactly one
year removed from Sunday’s game, when CU forced overtime but lost
Not football’s “Showdown”
The Rocky Mountain Showdown for lacrosse, unlike the football
version, has traveled each year back and forth between CU and CSU.
This will be the first time the game will be on a neutral field.
But the last time CSU played a game in Denver (April 7, 2001), the
Colorado College Tigers got the best of the Rams 10-9.
But before the Rams can head to Pepsi Center they need to play
Northern Colorado on CSU’s intramural fields. UNC is a team
Naumburg called “a bug on the road to Pepsi.”
This means if the Rams have troubles with a team with a combined
record of 11-20 in the past three seasons, they are in for a long
day at the Pepsi Center Sunday.
Last year the Rams won the U.S.-Lacrosse Intramural Association
“(The Rams) are a real mix of youth and talent,” Naumberg said
of this season’s team. “This is one of the more talented teams
This game will be a drastically different game from the football
version for one big reason: the fans. A big question is will the
Pepsi Center be rocking with thousands of screaming Ram fans?
“I really hope the students can come out,” Naumberg said. “I
also think we’ll see a big following of alumni, parents and the
community who will show up.”
CU will be featuring a new head coach this year in John Galvin
Jr. who will be replacing Peter Cooke, who finished his first and
last season with an 11-6 season and a 2-2 record inside the Rocky
Mountain Intercollegiate Lacrosse League. Cooke’s team suffered
both its losses at the hands of CSU. Galvin could not be reached
for comment on the upcoming game.