After jumping to No. 2 in the Menâ€™s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) rankings this week, the Rams (6-0) are preparing for a trip to Ann Arbor, Mich. this weekend to take on the top-seeded and undefeated Michigan Wolverines (9-0).
The Rams finished their slate of games last weekend with a lopsided 17-5 victory against the University of Arizona on Sunday. The Rams made quick work of the Wildcats following a narrow 6-5 win over then second-ranked Arizona State last Friday.
The two wins vaulted the Rams into the second spot in the latest MCLA rankings, up from third a week ago with the Rams toughest test of the season coming this weekend against the Wolverines.
The three-time defending MCLA national champion Wolverines have won nine games this season, six of them by a margin of ten goals or more.
The matchup this weekend is almost identical to the one these two teams had last year in Fort Collins. At that time, the second-ranked Rams fell to the top-ranked Wolverines 10-6 after a gut-wrenching fourth quarter in which the Rams were outscored 5-1.
The Rams will now look to avenge that loss.
â€œTheyâ€™re the number one team in our league,â€ said senior midfielder Garrett Fugier. â€œWe can prove that weâ€™re every bit as good of a team as they are.â€
Even after the defeat at the hands of Michigan last year, Fugier, one of the Ramsâ€™ captains, contends that the team doesnâ€™t feel any added pressure heading into the weekend.
â€œTheyâ€™re the number one team with the target on their back,â€ he said. â€œThereâ€™s no pressure on us, we just need to go out and play.â€
CSU head coach Alex Smith is also looking forward to facing the Wolverines, who he describes as â€œthe gold standard in the NCAA.â€
â€œWe are looking forward to the challenge, and if we play hard, then weâ€™ll let the chips fall as they may,â€ Smith said.
Though Fridayâ€™s match has been circled on the calendar since the beginning of the season, the primary goal has remained the same all season for the Rams, to play well when tournament time comes around.
â€œItâ€™s all about playing your best come tournament time,â€ said Smith. â€œWeâ€™re just trying to get better every day.â€
Club Sports Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at email@example.com.
Check out the game:
- What: CSU @ Michigan
- When: Friday, April 1
- Where: Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Time: 7 p.m.