It’s been almost a year since the CSU men’s lacrosse team played a game on home turf and it didn’t take long for them to feel at home again.
On Sunday the Rams beat Loyola Marymount 14-9, in their first home game of the season. CSU improves to 3-1, after beating Division III Colorado College on Saturday, 11-6.
The Rams were undefeated on the intramural fields last season.
CSU scored right out of the gate to jump on top of Loyola 2-0. Loyola scored twice to bring it back to even before the Rams put three more in to make it 5-2, late in the first quarter.
Senior attackman Danny Stevens brought the quarter to an end with a shot to the top right corner, beating Loyola goalie Luga Podesta, bringing the score to 6-4. He ended the game with two goals and three assists. Attackman Brian Stone led the Rams with three goals.
“We got off on them real quick,” said Head Coach Flip Naumburg. “But it was a pretty competitive game.”
The second quarter opened with a CSU possession but they couldn’t convert on the goal. Nearly seven minutes went by before attackman Campbell Diebolt broke the offensive stalemate beating the Loyola keeper, to make it 7-4.
CSU’s goalie Lance Simmons played well with eight saves, but Podesta dominated that category with 22 saves. Naumburg said he was one of their anchors coming into the game. CSU notched two more before the halftime whistle, making it 9-4.
The second half started off the way the first half did with CSU scoring right from the face-off. Senior captain Pat Bird hit the back of the net, bringing the score 10-4.
And just like the second quarter, the Rams couldn’t score when the shots came to them. The Rams had several chances against the Lions but couldn’t convert again. Loyola came back to score twice before the end of the third period, 10-6.
Almost 10 minutes went by before the Rams would score in the fourth quarter, when Bird broke the deadlock for the Rams, driving on the goal and beating the keeper, 11-7. Naumburg said he was getting nervous before then.
“To be honest, I didn’t think we were going to score again,” Naumburg said. “We had some good looks but we were shooting too quickly.”
Bird’s score opened a late offensive surge for both teams, the Lions beating Simmons twice and the Rams scoring three more times before the final whistle.
Danny Stevens said one of the keys to the victory was not getting involved with the scrappy play of Loyola.
“We played as a team, the play was real chippy out there,” Stevens said. “They were talking some trash, but we kept our heads on straight.”
The Rams will be hoping to ride the momentum of the weekend into next week, when they head off to Utah to play Utah State, Utah and archrival Brigham Young.
Men’s lacrosse beat writer Grant Meech can be reached at email@example.com.