The Cougar lacrosse team is on a roll, having won 11 straight games after dropping its season opener against San Diego State. Head coach Matt Schneck’s team is ranked No. 2 in MCLA Division I and is the only team to defeat top-ranked Grand Canyon.
But the Cougars remain determined not to allow their recent success distract from this week’s games against Colorado State and Colorado.
“We’ve had these games circled all year,” senior captain Mike Fabrizio said. “These are games we want. Colorado is a team I’ve never beaten since I’ve been here.”
The Rams and Buffaloes are the two teams BYU has had the most trouble with over the past three seasons. Since 2012, the Cougars are 3-9 against the Centennial State, including a 1-5 record in the RMLC and MCLA playoffs.
“We’re in a tough league,” Schneck said. “I think the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference, if not the best conference in the league, is definitely one of the top two.”
CU and CSU combined have won each of the past six conference and national championships.
The Cougars have what looks to be their best shot of taking revenge on their conference rivals this Thursday and Friday. Schneck currently has one of the strongest teams he’s had in his six seasons as BYU’s coach, while both Colorado schools are experiencing a relatively down year. The Rams lost four in a row in mid-March before recovering with impressive wins against Chapman and Michigan State. The Buffs have also had their share of struggles of late, losing three of its last four games to fall out of the top–five rankings for the first time since Feb. 2013.
“The thing I’ve been trying to remind our guys is that Colorado did a similar thing last year,” Schneck said. “They lost a couple games in the middle of the season, and then they went on and won the national championship.”
Neither Colorado nor Colorado State has played since March 29, but the Cougars aren’t worried about the extra time their opponents have had to prepare.
“As a matter of fact I’d rather be playing,” Schneck said. “The absolute best practice we can get is being able to get out here and perform against another team.”
Being able to play host to these games also helps BYU feel confident. The Cougars are expecting a lot of crowd support this week.
“Being here at home gives us a little bit of an advantage,” Fabrizio said. “These are the games that everyone wants to come out and watch.”
Schneck hopes his team’s offense can continue its high–scoring pace, which has seen the Cougars score at least 20 goals in each of the last four games.
“Our offense is clicking and the defense is looking good as well. Things are jelling right now so we feel confident,” he said. “We want to make sure that the guys are feeling confident, yet at the same time understanding that they’ll be having their hands full this week.”
BYU faces Colorado State on Thursday, April 9 and Colorado on Friday, April 10. Both games will take place at Helaman Field, with start times scheduled for 7 p.m.