Lacrosse: Utes sweep Colorado teams

By By Tim Haslam and By Tim Haslam

By Tim Haslam

Last weekend might just have been the greatest 48 hours in the history of Utah lacrosse.

The Utes (5-6, 2-0 Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference) went into their Colorado road trip as huge underdogs — they had a 1-15 overall record against Colorado and Colorado State over the past six years — but escaped as the top dogs.

Utah started by traveling to Boulder, Colo., to play the University of Colorado on Friday. Colorado has dominated Utah as of late, beating them six times in the last six years by a combined score of 76-45. The closest Utah has come to beating the Buffaloes was a 10-8 loss in Salt Lake City in 2003.

Utah started the game off well but still trailed the Buffaloes 2-1 after the first period. The Utes bounced back in the second quarter with three goals and took a 4-3 lead into the break. Utah then scored three goals in the third then five in the fourth for their first win in years over Colorado, 12-7.

Junior attackman Matt Qualey scored two goals and notched two assists to lead Utah with four points. Junior midfielder Jon Owens scored two goals and recorded one assist while junior midfielder Cory Merrell scored one goal and had two assists. Three Utah players — Adam Grow, Ryan Watts and Mike Calvert — had one goal and one assist each while four other Utes had one goal each.

Freshman goalie Andrew Martinelli recorded 14 saves and allowed seven goals for a save percentage of 0.667.

“Ten of (our) guys scored goals, which is a good sign,” Utah head coach Rich Levi said. “It’s nice to know if one player gets hurt or taken out, you can rely on the others to keep the offense going.”

On Saturday, Utah traveled to Fort Collins, Colo., to play Colorado State. In the past 10 meetings between the two teams, CSU holds a 9-1 record while outscoring Utah by a combined score of 146-47.

The two teams played to a 4-4 tie at halftime and stayed competitive right down to the final whistle. The fourth quarter was key as CSU took a 10-7 lead with 4:45 remaining in the game.

“At that point, we knew we had time left, but we knew we need a quick goal,” Levi said.

Utah got one from Owens right away, cutting the decifit to two points. After some tough defense, the Utes got the ball again, and Qualey shot a quick outside shot with 1:22 remaining. Then, after another great defensive spell, Utah got the ball to Qualey, and he scored the game-tying goal with 22 seconds remaining.

“Qualey refused to lose,” said Levi.

The play between the two teams went back and forth as the elusive “golden goal” in sudden death overtime was looming. After four overtime periods, the game was still tied at 10-10.

At the beginning of the fifth overtime, CSU got the ball but was again denied by the Utah defense. Utah immediately called a timeout and drew up a play. Qualey, who had four goals and one assist, had been taken out earlier in the overtime periods due to a thumb injury leaving room for a new offensive hero to emerge.

Enter sophomore attackman Mike Calvert.

Just 41 seconds into the fifth overtime, Calvert got the ball behind the net and came hard around the right side of the goal, winging a shot around his defensemen. The CSU goalie was screened by the defensemen and was unable to see the ball until it sailed past him and into the net.

Mayhem ensued. Utah rushed the field, dog-piling on Calvert and Martenelli.

“Our guys played together as a team,” Levi said. “We have been working on trusting our teammates and the fact they will be there for us when we need them, and I think they did that. Our defensive pressure was great, and we played a real team-defensive scheme. Everyone was on the same page. Our defensive middies, Krispen Blackett, Steve Glauser, Chandler (Sehlmeier) and (Mathew) McDowell were workhorses.”

Utah hopes to keep its momentum going as they travel to Logan, Utah, on Saturday to face the Utah State Aggies (1-3).

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