BOULDER, Colo. – Behind a solid defense and opportunistic offense, fourth-seeded Brigham Young knocked off second-seeded Colorado, 13-11, winning its second straight RMLC championship on Saturday evening.
The win clinches an automatic qualifying bid to the 2017 MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armor, which will take place from May 8-13 in Orange County, Calif. The Cougars remain the only team to qualify for all 21 MCLA national tournaments.
A repeat championship looked dubious after the first five minutes of action as Colorado scored the opening four goals of the game, setting the Cougars on their heels.
BYU still trailed 5-1 when they got a gift goal on a mix-up in the Buffaloes cage to trim the lead to 5-2. That sparked a 4-0 skein that eventually tied the game at five all. The two teams would head into the break still knotted at sixes.
The superb play of BYU goalie Mason Moon and close defender Harrison Wardle put the clamps on the explosive Colorado offense, allowing the Cougars to open the second half on another four-goal run to take a 10-6 lead. Chris Severson scored two of his four goals for BYU in that span.
Colorado would twice narrow the gap to one goal, but could never get any closer and a pair of late goals by Winston Farley closed the deal.
“If we could get into our six-v-six, we felt like we’d be in good shape,” said BYU coach Matt Schneck. “We’ve been working on that lately.”
Wardle had a critical takeaway late in the contest, killing any potential Buffalo momentum.
“We really started to trust each other in our slides,” Wardle said. “And Mason Moon really started to play well.”
BYU will await its seed and opponent at nationals on Sunday evening when the brackets are released on MCLA.us. Colorado is expected to receive an at-large bid to the championships.
Championships in the snow. @BYULacrosse pic.twitter.com/U2AV1cOHFx
— MCLA Tournament '17 (@MCLA_Tournament) April 30, 2017
2017 Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Tournament
Division I – (Bracket)
Semifinals – April 28 – Boulder, Colo.
#4 Brigham Young d. #1 Utah, 10-4
#2 Colorado d. #3 Colorado State, 11-7
Finals – April 29 – Boulder, Colo.
#4 Brigham Young v. #2 Colorado, 13-11