Saturday, April 26, 2003
CSU 8 BYU 7 – CSU 2003 RMILL CHAMPIONS
CSU record now stands at 14-2
HOLY PEAK TO PEAK BAT MAN
What a game! I thought we had won games in just about every way imaginable this season, but I was wrong. We found a new way today. We got up on them early in the game, and were dominant in building a lead, as was the case last Saturday in Boulder. BYU came back just as CU had, but there was a new twist this time. The Cougars really seized momentum, and not only did they get even with us, as CU had seven days before, but the Cougars ran right past us and eventually took a hard fought 6-4 lead.
It remained that way into the fourth quarter, and we hadn’t scored in almost 2 quarters by then. You cannot win a game with four goals. I finally said that out loud. I had been thinking it ever since we got the 4th goal, early in the second quarter. That made it 4-1. We seemed to get a bit too comfortable with ourselves at that point. We had just answered their first goal. We began to get a little careless, and we looked a little tired, too. We were a little down at the halftime break, even though we were still ahead 4-2. It had been 4-1, CSU, so when BYU took that eventual 6-4 lead into the fourth, they had scored 5 unanswered goals.
Early in the final quarter we finally put together a little flurry. We took the lead again, 7-6. We had been getting some decent shots through the middle of the game, but the BYU goalies were up to the task on each attempt. Once we got it started up again, though, we came back in a hurry. We played a courageous fourth quarter, even if it wasn’t the most beautiful. The heart they showed today certainly made me proud.
We got a huge goal (the eventual winner) on extra man after a BYU illegal bodycheck penalty was called. It was a beauty goal, that I think KJ fed to definitely Disney, who put the lefty dunk up on the top shelf, low to high. The EMO worked hard for that most important goal. It pleased me very much. I jumped and pumped. We had just scored 4 unanswered goals in a fairly short period of time. We were now up 8-6 with maybe six minutes left
Then the clock became more like the sands of time, endless. I usually don’t think about the clock very much unless it is tactical, but at this particular juncture in my coaching life it became very difficult to NOT think about it in a bit more of a manic way. Every possession became so crucial, precious even, as the seconds didn’t seem to tick down at all. They (BYU) still had plenty of time. I told the attack we would need another goal, even as we led by two goals.
Each team had a few possessions in the last few minutes, but BYU’s chances were relentless and seemed to be endless, too, as they were not turning the ball over to us. We had to fight to get the ball at all. Alex made some nice stops in the goal. They obviously needed to score more than we did once it became 8-6. The best 3 BYU players continually tried to get in to our goal, but we just gutted it out, and kept them at bay. The defense helped one another make stop after stop, and those three Cougars couldn’t get close enough to get many good shots, or good looks to feed either. Our defense would bend, but it would not break down. The time on the scoreboard clock finally faded to 0’s, but not before the Cougars scored on a nice cross crease feed. When that ball hit the net I turned to the clock and there were still nineteen seconds left. This was de ja vu all over again. We’d been there already. At least three times we have been in similar situations where we were up by 2 until the final seconds, and the other team scored to cut it to one with a great effort goal. Reptition of the situation does not make it easier to go through. D.C. (Clark) got the ensuing face-off, however, and that was that. We get to keep the Cup, eh?
MEMPHIS IS MORE THAN JUST GRACELAND MEMORABILIA
Thomas Robinson had 4 goals. Six weeks ago he had no idea what his role was on this team. Neither did I. He looked like he knew what it was today, and I must confess that I knew he had a couple of goals, but no idea that it was two couples. Thank you Memphis for loaning us one of your soulful sons. I love to see young men step up in big moments. I’m sure that all those BYU players are saying, “Who the heck was #22″?
GREEN CHILI CHEESEBURGERS ALL AROUND
Our short stick defenders, especially Phil Eichhorn, worked so hard to keep the TEAM defense working. This was a team victory in every sense of those two words. Dave Clark helped us get that early and good start in the game by winning the face-off draws, giving us those oh-so-valuable early game ball possessions.
Jimmy Hasson showed his value to our team on attack, after just recently moving there after three plus years at midfield. I ask a lot of him in general, and he delivered again today with some key points at big moments. Now he thankfully has some time to work on the finer points of his new, old position. He played attack in high school.
It was a fun game. It was intense, a roller coaster of momentum and emotions. Afterward, I thought to myself that this was the best of the many great battles that we have had with BYU, but then on the way home I remembered the 2001 semi-final in St. Louis. That was awesome, too. We won that game 10-9, my favorite score for a lacrosse game. That was when BYU had Steve Austin, the $6 million man. We kept them from repeating that year, and we went on to win it all the next day. We are not that far along yet, and as much meaning as winning the RMILL has, it won’t mean anything once we land in St. Louis. Everyone gets a fresh start there.
One of the great things about today is that now we go into a welcome 11-day period to get ready for these national Championships. Going into that period with a win is nice, too.
I know that as I write this the team is all getting to one of our “team houses” and they will party until late, or should I say early? They should party hardy. They earned it. They want me to come over, and part of me wants to go, but the truth is that I only have so many parties in me, and I’m thinking there is another one in my mind that I would prefer to attend.