May 032012
 
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

Two weeks after a double-OT thriller at Sports Authority Field, CSU and CU-Boulder will meet on the lacrosse field once again. This time, however, a spot in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference title game will be on the line.

The Rams play CU Friday at 7 p.m. in the second RMLC semifinal game in Grand Junction, Colo.

In the previous match up, CSU trailed 9-4 with six minutes remaining, but scored six goals in the final minutes to force overtime.

“It’s not like we dominated the game, so it would be really silly for us to go into this game thinking we’re a much better team than them,” CSU coach Alex Smith said. “We got lucky in that last game.”

Neither team has played since the April 21 showdown, and both have handled the time off differently.

CU had a very light week off immediately following the game, and gave its team some time off due to President Barack Obama’s visit to Boulder. The Buffaloes then scrimmaged with program alumni to try and simulate games.

CSU, conversely, has focused on recovering from nagging injuries and allowing its players to catch up academically.

“We have some of the best athletes in the league,” CSU junior Dustin Grybinas said. “Playing against our defense and our offense makes us better.”

When the two teams collide with each other, it will be their fourth game in the past two years. CSU has won five consecutive games against the Buffaloes, including two in a row in the RMLC tournament.

“It’s an interesting dynamic we have with our conference, we’re very familiar with each other,” CU defensive coordinator Martin Taffet said. “Some of these guys played each other growing up, so you almost don’t need a scouting report.”

Whoever wins will play the winner of the first semifinal between Utah and BYU, and improve their standing with the selection committee for the upcoming national tournament.

“We’re in the national tournament, all we’re talking about is seeding,” Smith said. “For us there’s not that importance of ‘we have to win.’ We want to win because we want to win.”

CU isn’t currently sitting as pretty. The Buffaloes are ranked No. 9 in the latest Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association poll, but only have a 7-6 record for the season.

“Truthfully CU probably has more on the line,” Smith said. “Of course the game means a lot to us, I don’t want to downplay it, but in terms of the national tournament it means more to CU.”

Before either team can think about the national tournament, however, they need to handle their business in the RMLC tournament.

“We can’t control what the (national tournament) committee thinks,” Taffet said. “A win would be important, but playing a team like CSU, you can’t look ahead.”

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

RMLC Tournament Bracket (All games played at Walker Field in Grand Junction, Colo.)
Semi-Finals – Friday
1 BYU vs 4 Utah – 4 p.m.
2 CSU vs 3 CU-Boulder – 7 p.m.

Championship Game – 5 p.m. Saturday
BYU/Utah winner vs. CU/CSU winner

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