by Max Freter | MCLA.us
The top team in the nation had a mountain of a task ahead of them in Colorado: back-to-back top 10 match-ups against the well-oiled Colorado offensive machine and the iron curtain Colorado State defense.
Despite the magnitude of the challenge, It was an opportunity for the visitors to silence their critics and solidify their place atop the MCLA ranks. In two tightly contested games, the Yellow Jackets split their rigorous road trip with a win over CSU and a loss in Boulder.
The Buffs handed Georgia Tech their first setback of the season on a sopping wet night at Kittredge Field with a patented fourth quarter run that broke a back-and-forth contest between the two juggernauts.
The Rams hosted the visitors from Atlanta the following night and once again found themselves playing past four quarters to decide a winner. CSU stopped the Yellow Jackets on their first possession in overtime, but a costly offsides call during a clear attempt gave the ball back to Georgia Tech, which scored on a bounce shot through the legs of goaltender Jake Bender to escape the mountains with a crucial victory.
The forecast was not kind to Georgia Tech in their first ever trip to Colorado as steady rainfall hovered for the course of the game, but it did not hold either team back from finding the net. Colorado was forced to adjust without their face off specialist Broderick Vitale due to injury, leading coach John Galvin to call on defensive midfielder Simbo Simboski to fill the role and counter one of the better face off midfielders in the MCLA in Holland Frost.
Simboski held the previous All-American in check at the X, keeping him from winning the draw cleanly and allowing his wing players a chance at winning the ground ball. Neither team could extend a lead past two goals for three periods as Georgia Tech battled CU’s balanced attack with their unique extra man unit that included LSM Will Byers firing shots from the left wing, leading to an EMO hat trick.
Georgia Tech notched a goal against the red-hot Buffalo goaltender Jensen Makarov early in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 11 apiece, but the Buffs turned on the jets from that point on. Jake Gonzalez, Ben Wharton, and Carter Esqueda led the charge to bust open the airtight contest and push their lead to 17-11. The Yellow Jackets were able to muster two more goals to keep it close, but a Colin MacIlvennie goal sealed the victory for CU over the top team in the nation.
Colorado coach John Galvin was happy with key individual performances by Makarov and Simboski and felt that the win pushed his team one step further in their quest for a national title.
“Their performances today definitely helped us increase the gap in this game but it was still a team effort to get the win,” he said. “I wouldn’t say one was more important than the other, but they allowed us to continue to play and put us in a position to get ahead.”
The following night’s game In Loveland held a lot of weight for both teams taking the field. Georgia Tech had one last chance to salvage their road trip and minimize the effects of their loss to Colorado, while Colorado State saw an opportunity to pick up momentum heading into the thick of their RMLC schedule.
The Rams faced the same situation as their rivals the night before as they started the game without their face off specialist Ryan Chamberlain due to injury. Colorado State coach Ted Fifield elected to go with the junior defensive midfielder Michael Seaman to take the reins at the dot.
Frost took advantage of the matchup early and put the stout Ram defense on their heels with a first quarter hat trick and a 4-1 lead. The Yellow Jackets held a 6-3 advantage midway through the second until CSU rattled off three straight goals, including a buzzer beater from Alec Womack as time expired to tie the game at six.
The second half featured a slew of penalties, transition goals, and a stellar performance by second-half goalie Jake Bender for the Rams. Sieman, AJ Stewart, and Josh O’Connell all hit twine on unsettled situations and helped their ailing offense stay toe-to-toe with Georgia Tech, who capitalized on several turnovers by CSU on the offensive side of the field.
O’Connell’s goal gave the Rams an11-10 lead with 3:30 left in the game, but the Jackets responded with a tally to send yet another game into overtime for Colorado State. Georgia Tech held the ball for the first two minutes in the first possession of OT that led to a Bender save on the crease. It looked as if Colorado State would have a chance to steal another thrilling game, but they were called offsides on the clear attempt, giving Tech the ball back.
The ball landed in the crosse of sophomore attackman Tim Peterson who snuck it past Bender for the game-winner, leaving the Rams with another heartbreaking defeat on the season.
“We were right there, we had every opportunity to come away with this one,” Fifield said. “We dug ourselves a hole after an ugly first quarter. We are still fighting to string four solid quarters together this season. The record doesn’t necessarily show it but I know we are right there with the best teams in the country.”
No. 11 Utes Take Care of Utah State, Lose Late to #21 Boise State
Utah took two steps backward after winning three straight since their last loss at Cal.
The Utes struggled against an injury-ravished Utah State squad that has yet to stay close in an RMLC game this season. The two were tied at seven midway through the third quarter before Utah found their stride and pulled away with a 16-9 win.
Their primetime match-up came just two days later against No. 21 Boise State in a game that lived up to the hype and more. Utah held a tight lead for most of the first half before the Broncos gained a step on their hosts at the end of the second quarter, hitting the locker room with an 8-6 lead.
Utah put together the biggest run of the game in the third period with goals from Gus Colona, Josh Stout, and Ian Elson to jump back in front 10-8, but Boise had the final say with three consecutive tallies to pull the 11-10 upset in Salt Lake City.
No. 4 Cougars Continue Stretch of Domination
BYU has been on a tear since dropping a game to Chapman in their trip to Southern California. The Cougars have steamrolled their opponents, winning their last three games by a combined total of 50-11.
Their most recent victim was the Aggies of Utah State in Logan, Utah, 15-5. The Aggies kept it close at half trailing only 5-2, but a strong second half doomed them, this time coming from their neighbors from the north in Provo. Although BYU’s recent run has been a fireworks show on offense, don’t expect to see the same with Colorado and Colorado State coming to town this weekend.
No. 8 Montana State upended by Great Falls, Beats Montana in a Shootout
After finishing a vicious trip to Minnesota with a win over St Johns, the Bobcats couldn't maintain the momentum in a 9-8 loss to Great Falls.
The Argonauts jumped all over their in-state rival en route to a 6-1 lead, but MSU battled back to make it a one goal game late in the fourth quarter. An EMO late in the quarter gave the Bobcats a great opportunity to tie, but couldn’t cash in leaving the Copper Cup on the bus back to Great Falls.
Montana State salvaged the weekend with a hard-fought 15-12 win over University of Montana. The Bobcats will have another tough national test in Reno against Concordia this Saturday.