The bitter rivalry between CSU and CU-Boulder will be on display Saturday at Dickâ€™s Sporting Goods Park as the two schoolâ€™s menâ€™s lacrosse teams face each other for the first time at the new stadium.
The Rams (10-0) have steamrolled their opponents up to this point, outscoring those teams 149-69 en route to a perfect season and a chance for another national championship.
This is not just another game, but the biggest game of the year for both sides. CSU looks to avenge last yearâ€™s 11-4 defeat while CU (2-4) hopes to repeat their success and spoil what has so far been a perfect season for the Rams.
CSU head coach Alex Smith realizes how important this game is for his players.
â€œItâ€™s a really important game for us, no matter what their record is or what our record is,â€ Smith said. â€œItâ€™s CU so it will be important no matter what the situation is.â€
Last yearâ€™s loss to CU has not been forgotten and has provided the team with motivation the entire year, but is not the only factor on Saturday.
â€œIt provided a lot of motivation in the off season,â€ Smith said. â€œAt this point, last year was last year and this year is this year, so weâ€™re trying to just be focused on us and what weâ€™re able to do (from here on out).â€
Preparing for CU presents a tougher challenge than previous games because of the talent the Buffaloes have. Senior captain Andrew Stein has the answer to this for the Rams and it is the motto they have carried all year, â€œfamily first.â€
â€œWe canâ€™t control how they are going to come out or what they are going to do,â€ Stein said. â€œWe can control how we prepare and the overall intensity we will bring to the game.â€
Buffaloes head coach Pete Stevenson was fired on March 29, so CU-Boulder will undoubtedly come to the showdown with their bit of motivation that CSU needs to be ready for.
â€œTheyâ€™re extremely talented and fired their coach on Monday,â€ Smith said. â€œTheyâ€™re kind of a wounded animal, so in a lot of ways their whole season rides on this game.â€
Playing the game at Dickâ€™s Sporting Goods Park allows both fans and players alike to enjoy the game of lacrosse on a big time level. Previous Rocky Mountain Showdowns have been at INVESCO Field at Mile High.
â€œItâ€™s great, thatâ€™s one of the reason I play,â€ Stein said. â€œJust having our family and friends out there watching us and to be a senior itâ€™s even better.â€ The showdown is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. and the gates will open to fans as early as 7 p.m.
Tickets can still be ordered online or over the phone. Go to http://csulacrosse.com for more information.
Club Sports Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.