(Photo by BYU Lacrosse - Mykel Severson)
by Steven C. Haymond | Special to MCLA.us
Conference play will be in full swing this week with four big matchups that will shape the RMLC 2022 landscape. No. 1 Brigham Young and No. 16 Utah Valley head to Colorado to take on No. 22 Colorado State and Colorado. It’s been nearly three years since we’ve seen full RMLC action.
Colorado will be looking to defend their 2019 regular season crown that saw the Buffs earn a perfect conference record as well as the RMLC tournament crown with an 11-8 win over Utah Valley. It’s finally time for these four programs to get acquainted with one another. We are in for an exciting week.
No. 1 Brigham Young: Beat Utah, 10-4; Beat No. 2 Concordia-Irvine 12-11
The Cougs hosted two games in Provo last week. It's hard to say this is a renewal of the ‘Holy War’ with a brand new Utah team with little history between the two teams. However, it is still important as the regenerated Utes MCLA team looks to get established over the next few years.
BYU walked away with a 10-4 victory at the old Provo High Wednesday night. In the MCLA marquee game of the week, BYU hosted No. 2 Concordia-Irvine Saturday afternoon. The Eagles were coming off back-to-back one goal games against No. 12 Arizona State and No. 20 Grand Canyon with CUI claiming both.
The Cougars put the first two goals in before the Eagles would answer with a pair of their own. CUI would take a 7-6 lead into the half. BYU would net two in the 3rd before Concordia would tie it up at 8 a piece heading into the fourth. Concordia scored a quick one to start the fourth, taking a 9-8 lead before an Alton Taylor goal would make it even again.
CUI again took the lead with two goals with just over six minutes left in the game. Another Taylor goal pulled the Cougs within one, followed by a pole goal less than a minute later by Rob Richardson to tie it up at 11. BYU would pull out the win with six seconds left off a Jake Halversen goal. Taylor, the freshman out of American Fork (Utah) H.S., had five of the Cougars 12 goals. BYU improves to 7-0.
Colorado: Lost to No. 22 Florida State, 17-14; Beat Washington, 17-7.
CU welcomed the Seminoles to Boulder under blizzard conditions on Thursday night. Despite the frosty welcome, the FSU boys got hot in the second quarter, undeterred by a CU 3-1 lead. The ‘Noles would take a 13-5 lead into the half. The Buffs would make it interesting in the second half and pull within a 16-14 FSU lead.
The comeback came up short as the Buff ran out of time and fell 17-14. CU wasted no time in turning things around in their Saturday matchup with UW. The Buffs started slow against the Huskies, going down 3-0 and ending the first quarter trailing 3-2. The Buffs turned it on the rest of the game and took the victory, 17-7. The Buffs are able to flip the switch when they want to and are a dangerous team for any ranked opponent.
No. 21 Colorado State: Beat No. 22 Florida State, 9-8.
The Rams notched another ranked win for their resume, downing No. 22 FSU 9-8 on Saturday afternoon in an exciting finish. The ‘Noles would take a 4-1 lead early in the second quarter before the Rams would storm back to tie it at fives going into the half. CSU came out of the half and put up 4 in the third.
They then spent the fourth fending off the ‘Noles comeback. A Rams late hit with 1:57 left would leave CSU man-down for the remainder of the game. Down 9-7, FSU would score with a minute left to pull within one, but were unable to draw even before time ran out. The Rams survived in Fort Collins to improve to 6-2 on the year.
No. 23 Texas: BYE
No. 16 Utah Valley: BYE
No. 1 BYU (7-0; 0-0):
The Cougars head to Colorado for a pair of conference games against CU (3-2) on Thursday and No. 21 CSU (6-2) Saturday. It hasn't been since 2019 that we’ve seen these matchups and the landscape in the conference looks very different.
The last time these schools squared off, it was CU that was the team to beat in the RMLC. Now No. 1 BYU is atop the MCLA and looks to claim the RMLC, as well. CU is a hard team to read. They have dropped games against both ranked opponents on their schedule but have handled non-ranked teams with relative ease. We will see how the Buffs want to defend their conference title against the top team in the land.
The Cougs then head to Fort Collins to renew one of the oldest and hardest fought rivalries in the MCLA against No. 21 CSU. The Rams reserved Canvas Stadium for the showdown with the No. 1 Cougs.
CSU hasn’t beaten BYU since a 11-10 victory back in 2017. This edition of the BYU-CSU rivalry will have the look of the old school heavyweight bouts these two foes had when they were splitting national championships in the early 2000’s. Tickets to this matchup run $18 and can be purchased online.
Colorado (3-2; 0-0):
Technically the Buffs are defending the RMLC championship. The last time the RMLC was in full action, CU was atop the Rocky Mountains. The Buffs won the 2019 title, defeating Utah Valley 11-8. This is a big week for the Buffs who can turn around their season after dropping their last two ranked matchups. CU has shown they can put points on the board and are a dangerous team. The Buffs host No. 1 BYU (7-0) Thursday and No. 16 Utah Valley (5-1) Saturday.
No. 21 Colorado State (6-2; 0-1):
CSU is sitting with a lone conference loss after falling to No. 23 Texas a few weeks ago. CSU will first host No. 16 Utah Valley Thursday night before the big match up with old-time rival, No. 1 BYU. The first game is important for both the Rams and Wolverines. Both are looking to pick up an all-important conference win.
CSU will then host No. 1 BYU Saturday afternoon. These two programs are no strangers to each other and have a long history of dominance in the MCLA with national championships, many of which typically meant running into each other in May. You can go look up old MCLA Final Four matchups between these two from the early 2010’s. The Rams would like nothing more than to play spoiler to the Cougars' perfect season.
No. 23 Texas (4-2; 1-0):
Texas holds the edge in the RMLC standings heading into a big conference weekend. However, UT will face two non-conference programs this week. The Longhorns host a talented Oregon State team (3-4) Thursday night. OSU has played ranked teams close this year despite not being able to pull off a ranked win.
The Longhorns could have their hands full in this midweek matchup. UT then hits the road to face in-state rival Texas A&M (3-3) Saturday night in an old LSA matchup. Texas can build momentum before heading into a busy few weeks in April.
No. 16 Utah Valley (5-1; 0-0):
Utah Valley hits the road this week to start conference play. The last time the RMLC was in full swing, the Wolverines reached the 2019 RMLC Championship game against Colorado as the No. 3 seed, falling to the Buffs 11-8. The landscape has changed in the last three years but the stakes are the same.
The Wolverines are coming off a bye after a week-long trip to Northern California. The Wolverines should be well rested and focused for the two big matchups. UVU first heads to Fort Collins for a match-up with No. 21 CSU (6-2). The last time these two teams met the Wolverines bested the Rams 16-12 in Orem.
UVU then heads to Boulder to take on CU. The Wolverines will be looking to turn the history on this series as the Buffs have never lost to UVU. The boys from Orem will need to bring their best this week as they look to make a statement in the RMLC that they are here to stay.
-RMLC Game of the Week-
No. 1 BYU vs No. 21 Colorado State
Saturday | 4:00 PM | Canvas Stadium - Fort Collins, CO
No. 8 Montana State: BYE
No. 6 Utah State: BYE
No. Utah: Lost to BYU, 10-4.
The Utes fell to the Cougars in a new chapter of ‘The Holy War,’ 10-4. Utah again proved they have the talent to compete with anyone in the MCLA.
Air Force: BYE
Colorado Mines: Lost to MSU Denver, 17-10.
The Orediggers dropped their second conference game last week to MSU Denver 17-10. They head into a bye week before entering the bulk of their schedule with five games in two weeks.
Fort Lewis: Beat Biola, 13-10.
The Skyhawks picked up their first win of the season against Biola Sunday afternoon 13-10.
MSU Denver: Beat Colorado Mines, 17-10; Lost to No. 22 Wake Forest, 20-8; Beat Central Conn. State, 21-7.
It's been a roller-coaster of a week for the Roadrunners. They picked up a conference win against Colorado Mines before heading back east. MSU Denver was beaten by No. 22 Wake by 12 before beating Central Conn. by 14.
The Roadrunners will complete their east coast trip with a game against No. 20 UNC-Charlotte Monday.
No. 8 Montana State (5-3; 2-0):
The Bobcats host No. 16 Utah on Saturday. The Utes are a talented squad and could play spoiler to the Bobcats if they aren’t careful. Winner will most likely end up with the top seed in the RMLC Tourney.
No. 16 Utah (1-3; 1-0):
The Utes host Fort Lewis (0-3) on Thursday before heading to Bozeman for a matchup with the Bobcats on Saturday. Utah’s record is not indicative of the talent on the team. Losses are to COI, UVU and BYU. The Utes can take control of the RMLC with wins this week.
No. 6 Utah State (5-3; 0-2):
The Aggies host No. 23 Northwest Nazarene (4-0) Friday night in Logan. The Aggies can notch another ranked win to help bolster their resume for the selection committee, as the Aggies are most likely out of the RMLC tourney.
Utah State then hosts Div. 1 rival Boise State (2-3) on Saturday. If the Broncos ever jumped ship to the RMLC and the Aggies bumped up to D-I this would make for a great conference battle every year. As of right now, this is always a tough yearly matchup for both squads. The Aggies lost by five to the Broncos in Boise last year.
Wyoming (1-5; 1-0):
The Pokes have another bye week.
Air Force (1-1; 1-0):
The Falcons don’t play until April 8th.
Colorado Mines (0-3; 0-2):
Bye week for the Orediggers.
Fort Lewis (1-3; 0-2):
The Skyhawks finish their road trip to California with a game against UC-Irvine (1-3) and then head to Salt Lake City to face the No. 16 Utes (1-3) on Thursday.
MSU Denver (5-2; 1-1):
The Roadrunners finish their east coast trip with a game against UNC-Charlotte (3-1) Monday night. A win over the 49ers would put a nice bow on the trip.
-RMLC Game of the Week-
No.8 Montana State vs No. 16 Utah
Saturday | 7:00 PM | Dobbie Lambert Turf - Bozeman, MT
(Rankings based off polls available at the time)