We went down 3-0 to start the game, but fresh off a 6 goal deficit turned into upset win not even a week ago, there never a sense of panic, and a consistent focus at what was at hand. After the ball landed on the turf in front of the cage, the kid was able to scoop the GB and bomb a 5 mph shot (change up) past the keeper for a garbage goal that put us on the board. Captain James Rubio scored the next goal stick side high coming off a dodge, but we just could not seem to close the door. Every time we scored, they answered. 4-2, then 5-3, the cushion was always there. They netted one more, and we went into the half down 6-3, yet still fully confident that the game was ours. There was no more shock, and realized that we could easily run with or past the Buffs we had heard so much about.
We did exactly that, flattening their cushion with goals coming from a few kids that were born in the 1990's. Freshman Joe Gardiner had a hat trick, while his classmate Garrett Buckley had two goals that went into the net instead off the iron around it. And of course, sophomore Evan Flower tagged a chone of his own. Gardiner's first goal was notched with less than one second left in the third quarter, making the game 7-6 heading into the fourth.
Despite never leading, the momentum was all on the away bench, and the CU boys were unravelling before our eyes. Whether it's the fact that they were blindsided by their "blind date" or that they just hadn't been in a situation like that in a long time, the game got chippy and the flags flew accordingly. We spent a good part of the fourth man-up and netted the tying goal in a said opportunity. Then with 2 minutes remaining Joe "Fructis" Gardiner beat the keeper and we had our first and last lead of the game. Keeper Jake Katz made 21 saves on 29 shots for the Wildcats, stomping out kick saves like a champagne glass wrapped in a napkin. We cleared, possessed the ball, took and took a timeout. Then, we unanimously decided to put the ball in the hands of Taylor Kenny to run out the final 25 seconds. Of course, he chilled, and ran out two All American defensemen to kill the clock and we were free to rush our goalie like a bunch of wild buffaloes. We did, fully solidifying the biggest win for UNH Lacrosse within the Sullivan era. This is exactly what we needed to kickoff the season. A team building, rejunivating, come from behind victory. And to get a great feeling like that just from your own hard work is a feeling that no money could ever buy. Especially in this economy.
If you want to check out all of the stats from this nailbiter, you can get them right HERE off the MCLA website. Also, check out the CU Lacrosse blog, at www.redhotbuffs.com (Inspired by Yours Truly). Their blogger is a rad dude and they have some very entertaining videos, polls, and interviews of their own.