"This one means a little something extra," were the echoes coming from the CSU bench prior to the final club lacrosse game Saturday. The tenth and final game (and most anticipated) at the intramural fields was a big game for the Rams, but also for the visiting, and oft considered underdog CU Buffaloes.
For all intensive purposes, the fall season is the pre-season for club lacrosse. But for reality purposes, CSU and CU are too competitive to play paper-rock-scissors nicely.
"I haven't beat these guys in like six tries," said Colorado junior Scott Cadiz prior to the start.
The Buffs had a pretty good morning going into the contest, beating Northern Colorado handily following a tough loss to the CSU alumni team. CSU had beaten the Alumni team, but had dropped their first game of the day to Spot, a men's club team.
The game was going well for both squads with neither team taking enough control to seal a victory for a majority of the game. As regulation time was running down on a 4-4 contest and overtime seeming inevitable; the Buffs put one in the net.
On the clock was three seconds, on the scoreboard: 5-4.
Following a dispute on a running clock rule, the goal was upheld.
"It's a non-issue at this point," said team president Tom Fender. "We should have put it away sooner."
The loss was taken with some humility on behalf of the Rams. CSU coach Flip Naumburg expressed concern on the team's home field following the games.
"We didn't look dangerous. If teams don't fear you, they won't respect you."
But credit was also given to CU.
"I see that CU is more together and more talented than in previous years. I don't expect to go out and beat them like a drum," Naumburg said. "Maybe we'll be an underdog next time."
CU showed respect for the Rams after the game as well.
"They are the number one team in the country, and with that comes the best goaltending in the country," said CU head coach John Galvin. "After a win like this, you still have to step back and realize that this was fall and we (still) need to come out this spring."
One bright spot for CSU on Saturday was the play of the Gold team. The younger team won both games on the day, including an impressive 7-4 showing against DU.