Cheering for the No. 1-ranked team in the country isnâ€™t something CSU fans get to do often, but they will have the opportunity Wednesday to see the CSU club lacrosse team in action.
The Rams play their first home game of the season against Washington at 7 p.m. on the Intramural Fields west of the Lory Student Center and just south of Moby Arena. The Huskies are 1-7 this season with losses to Arizona and Simon Fraser â€” both teams CSU has beaten this year.
â€œWe know weâ€™re better than Washington, we expect to beat them by a lot,â€ junior midfielder Dustin Grybinas said. â€œWeâ€™re not going to go into this game complacent, weâ€™re just going confident.â€
So far in 2012, CSU has compiled an 8-0 record, winning by an average score of 12-5, despite playing every single game on the road.
â€œI feel like our school doesnâ€™t acknowledge us as much as they probably should,â€ Grybinas said.
CSU defeated big-name schools, such as Arizona State and Stanford, as well as then-No. 4 Chapman, all on their home fields. The Rams even took down NCAA Division III Colorado College 12-4 in Colorado Springs on March 3.
â€œWeâ€™ve been cruising along. I feel like the leadership of this team has been really mature,â€ said coach Alex Smith, who played lacrosse professionally for the Denver Outlaws for five years. â€œLacrosse is in a unique position where thereâ€™s more talent than there are opportunities to play at the collegiate level.â€
Junior Austin Fisher is a perfect example of that. Fisher leads the team with 24 goals and 31 points this season after scoring 41 goals apiece in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
â€œOur defense has been holding teams to really low numbers, which lets us have more possessions and be more aggressive with the ball,â€ Fisher said.
Even with Fisher at the tip of the iceberg, the Rams have four players with more than five goals this season and a total of 18 players have scored this season.
â€œWe have so much depth right now,â€ Smith said. â€œIâ€™m hoping people watching us will take away from watching us how we play as a team and spread the wealth as far as scoring the ball.â€
For new fans, watching lacrosse may seem vastly different from other sports, but actually carries many similarities to more traditionally popular games.
â€œI think lacrosse has a piece of every single other sport,â€ Smith said. â€œThereâ€™s the physicality of football, the running and finesse of soccer, the strategy of basketball, the grinding and the hitting of hockey, even the shooting has aspects of golf and baseball. Thereâ€™s something for everybody.â€
Even casual fans have seemed to take notice. The recent success of the Denver Outlaws and Colorado Mammoth professionally and Denver Universityâ€™s hosting of the first NCAA tournament game west of the Mississippi river last season have created an outpouring of support for lacrosse in Colorado.
â€œThe state of Colorado is seen as a hotbed and a place where really great talent comes from,â€ Smith said. â€œOf course as a state school within Colorado we get a lot of kids who are good lacrosse players but either were late bloomers or didnâ€™t get recruited or didnâ€™t want to go back east to play.â€
Menâ€™s Lacrosse Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CSU Players to Watch
Junior Austin Fisher: 24 goals, 7 assists
Sophomore Sean Smith: 20 assists, 22 points
Junior Daniel Warfield: .679 face-off percentage, 24 ground balls (Lax version of rebounds)