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Aggies Beat Wolverines, Earn Spot in RMLC Playoffs

Utah State LogoIt only seemed fitting for the last game of the season for both these squads to come down to the last quarter. All the hard work, dedication, and determination for one thing: A playoff spot with the winner heading to face Colorado State on Saturday.
Utah State took the early lead, but had to come back in the fourth to pull off the 13-8 victory over Utah Valley.
“This game was a battle,” Utah State Head Coach Jon Atwood said after the game. “These guys deserve this. They’ve put in so much and now will get to experience the playoffs.”
It wasn’t an easy game, and the two teams went back and forth all night. Don’t let the final score fool you. This game could not have been closer. Utah Valley came ready to play. The two sides looked almost identical in a lot of facets of the game, but Utah State seemed to just be able to put everything together a little bit more than UVU.
A lot of that had to do with UVU’s overall offense in the first quarter. With 1 goal on 16 shots, the Wolverines came out sloppy and luckily had Utah State coming out almost as bad.
“Tonight was rough. We took the lead and let it go,” UVU Head Coach Mike Pappas said after the game. “This is a game of momentum, and we lost ours.”
Both sides came out sluggish, and with relative difficulty controlling the ball and pace of the game. While Utah State did score on a 15 yarder from Kevin Mann mid-way through the first quarter, you started to get the feeling that this game would be close to the end.
But UVU showed life in the second with a great assist by Jesse Hansen that was given from behind the cage to Sam Brigham to bring the game to the 3-2 mark.
The first half was quite dull and both sides didn’t seem to show an advantage. This was evident by the 4-3 Utah State Halftime score.
With a lot of missed opportunities by both sides, the coaches knew what needed to be improved on and made sure all the excitement missed in the first half would be made up for and them some in the second.
The third quarter was pretty even until Sam Brigham for UVU scored yet another goal late in the third, and with that goal, the momentum shifted to UVU’s side.
The game finally started.
While the game had its bright spots before that, the intensity and excitement from both sides and the crowd was unmatched. I have never witnessed such passionate lacrosse. These guys were hungry, and both teams wanted that ticket to Fort Collins. Shot after shot, goal after goal, these two young programs were trading goals and celebratory leaps while the fans tried to take it all in without jumping on each other.  Goals from Fred Davis and Jesse Hansen of UVU, and of course the ever so dangerous duo for Utah State made up of Blade Garlow and Matt Taylor really set the scoreboard on fire. But the game really came down to one very crucial facet at an even more crucial time: The face-off battle the last 10 minutes of the game.
Jared Day for Utah State won 5 straight face-offs, and helped the Aggies come back from a two goal deficit to not only take the lead, but do so in a way that Utah State hasn’t really done before, at least at home. The tenacity and sense of urgency from the Aggies was unparalleled. They knew what was on the line, and the offense was playing like their playoff opponent was watching. The offense was incredible, but the Utah State defense deserves recognition beyond this article. The Aggies played a much more ‘in your face’ approach on defense today which lead to poor shots from UVU all day.
“This defense is something we practiced, we knew we could get in their face and hopefully cause some turnovers for our offense,” Utah State Goalie Davy Colby said after the game. “Our defense looked great. We played incredible.”
While Utah State had an amazing 4th quarter, UVU put on a show of their own, too. They were matching Utah State shot for shot and it really could’ve gone either way. But Matt Taylor and Blade Garlow, also known as ‘Smash and Dash’ were just too much to handle at the end of the game. The UVU defense looked deflated after Blade Garlow’s third goal of the game at the 5:33 mark in the 4th. After that, Utah State went to town. Kevin Mann, Tanner Boden, and Bryce Hatfield all joined in on the fun that lead to a Utah State victory, and more importantly, a playoff birth after a 8-3 regular season.
The Aggies will take to the road and travel to Fort Collins on Saturday in the Quarterfinals of the RMLC playoffs.

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