By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
When there’s a low number in front of your name, you can expect the opposition to play with a little more fire. Grand Canyon University Men’s Lacrosse found that out the hard way as the unranked Colorado State University Rams rallied late to take down the No. 3 Lopes, 7-6, Thursday night in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The loss marks the end to a 19-game win streak, dating back to a March 10 victory over Utah State last season. The Rams, meanwhile, broke a three-game losing streak after falling out of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Division I Top 25 poll for the first time ever.
CSU used a six-goal fourth quarter to erase a 4-1 GCU lead entering the fourth. The Rams scored three times in the first five minutes to tie the game at 4, then continued their strong defensive work to keep the offensive chances for GCU to a minimum. The Rams’ Gabe Remshardt, who opened the quarter with the first goal, scored his second at 4:16 to give CSU their first lead. A minute and a half later, A.J. Stewart took the ball in transition and rocketed a shot past Lopes’ goaltender Brad Hookom for the 6-4 advantage. Logan Phillips for GCU broke the streak with a goal just 20 seconds later to bring the Lopes back to within one. After Grant Alfred added another for the Rams with 50 seconds remaining, Cian Peterson fought through a double team to put the Lopes within one again, but that would be the final opportunity as CSU won the ensuing faceoff and ran out the clock for the win.
“There’s just not much to say,” Lopes’ Head Coach Many Rapkin said. “We were in control of the game on the road, and the offense couldn’t close it out. The defense defended too many possessions.”
Defense is what put the Lopes on top to begin with, as they held the Rams scoreless in the first half. Both teams went without a goal in the opening quarter before Cody Clark scored two in the second for a 2-0 GCU lead at halftime. Cooper Snowbarger went low corner to make it 3-0 just a minute into the third, then Deryk Delahanty found a lane to put CSU on the board five minutes later. Kyle Crews notched his sixth of the year with a goal two minutes left in the third that put GCU up, 4-1, after three quarters.
With the many possessions GCU was defending, fatigue started to set in late. Yet Rapkin wasn’t ready to use that as an excuse for defeat.
“We have to learn how to finish games,” Rapkin said. “We have to learn how to play them all the way through. The offense has to be mentally tougher with the ball.”
GCU (6-1) continues their two-game road trip with a matchup Saturday at noon against No. 5 University of Colorado. The Buffaloes are also 6-1 on the year, with their lone loss being a 15-11 defeat against No. 2 Chapman University on March 2.