Apr 192012
 
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

There won’t be a lack of motivation on Sports Authority Field at Mile High when No. 9 CU and No. 4 CSU meet for the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown at 6 p.m. under the lights.

“It’s a pretty bitter rivalry,” CSU junior Austin Fisher said. “The hate’s there; the rivalry’s there — that’s a given — but I think, really, the focus on ourselves is going to be the key.”

CSU has not played well offensively in its last two games, losing to BYU and defeating Utah while only scoring 18 total goals.

“We have been in a little bit of a rut here,” CSU coach Alex Smith said. “But we’re working through that and I’m confident our team will put out a good output at Sports Authority Field.”

Playing in a professional arena will be a far cry from the intimate intramural field settings in which both teams traditionally play.

“The biggest thing is communication, whether it be player-to-player or coach-to-player on the sidelines,” CU defensive coordinator Martin Taffet said. “In a stadium that big, one voice gets drowned out by the expanse of it.”

Smith, who has coached at Sports Authority Field both at the collegiate and professional level, said the key to overcoming that barrier is preparation.

“So much more of the game needs to be about what the players do rather than orchestrated from the sideline,” Smith said. “From a coaching perspective I’m trying to let the players play, and that’s what’s fun about it.”

Even with that minor handicap, both programs relish the opportunity to showcase their game on the biggest stage in the state.

“It can be a venue to show what club lacrosse offers and the high caliber of talent within club lacrosse,” Fisher said. “The perception can get skewed with high school students, I don’t think they realize how competitive it is at the club level.”

Particularly in the RMLC, which has three of the top 10 teams nationally in CSU, CU, and BYU.

At stake for the Buffaloes will be a share of the regular season RMLC title and potential top seed in the conference tournament. CU leads the RMLC at 3-0, including a win over BYU on April 5.

CSU only has one loss in conference so the conference’s top seed is not out of the question, but the Rams are more concerned with playing well and building momentum going into the conference and national tournaments.

“We always want to peak at the right time, which is in the national tournament,” Fisher said. “The focus is on continually getting better and honing all elements of the game.”

Men’s lacrosse Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

CU Player to watch:
Junior attackman Riley Seidel #22
27 goals
7 assists
2.83 points per game

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