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BYU Falls to Colorado in Top 10 Showdown

BYU Midfielder Jayden Haws c/o Victoria Harris
BYU Midfielder Jayden Haws c/o Victoria Harris

The No. 6 BYU Cougars gave fans almost everything they could have asked for on Saturday: a top-ten opponent, punishing defense, physical play, and a crisp precision offense. The one thing the Cougars couldn’t give their fans, however, was the win, as they fell 11-9 to the visiting No. 2 Colorado Buffaloes in a key conference match-up.
The Cougars gave the Buffs a reason to worry early when sophomore faceoff middie Andrew Welling punched the ball forward on the opening faceoff for a fast break, passing it quickly to junior attackmen Jake Ferrin who finished with a hard rip from the wing putting the Cougars up 1-0 just 6 seconds into the game. The goal would be an oddity, though, as both defenses stepped up and played a very physical six minutes that saw Cougar junior LSM break his stick on a hard check, two Buffalo penalties, and no goals scored. BYU senior midfielder Mickell Walker ended the stalemate with a nifty spin dodge to score. After some more back-and-forth play, a BYU slash gave the Buffaloes a golden man- up opportunity and senior attackmen Tyler Dougherty capitalized with a catch and finish on the crease, ending the first quarter with BYU leading 2-1.

BYU Midfielder Jayden Haws c/o Victoria Harris
BYU Midfielder Jayden Haws c/o Victoria Harris
BYU struck early in the second quarter with back-to-back goals by freshman Beau Rich and senior Pat Matheson. Some more physical play ended with Cougar sophomore middie Zach Jordan snapping his crosse in half, resulting in an uneven situation on the field where Buffalo senior middie Matt White dodged down the alley and put the ball on the top corner of the cage, bringing the Buffs within two, 4-2. BYU’s offense stalled when the Colorado D switched into a stifling three-three zone defense. The Buffs then snagged a three-goal run including freshman LSM Clark Salamie taking the faceoff with his longpole and running it straight to the cage for the score. After some tough Cougar D, BYU got the ball back with eight seconds left and called timeout. Patrick Matheson took the ball out of the timeout and found himself unguarded on the restart, scoring with three second left in the half and tying the game at 5-5.
The Cougs drew first blood coming out of halftime when freshman attack Jayden Haws quarterbacked it from behind the cage to an open Dustin Drees on the crease for the score. But Colorado would answer once again with a Christian Wilson faceoff fast break and an amazing shot by Riley Seidel running away from the goal on the wing, giving the Buffs a one-goal edge, 7-6. The Cougs continued to be stymied by the Buffalo zone, but it finally broke down when Haws dodged through three Colorado defenders and dumped it off to attackmen Mike Fabrizio for the score. The Buffs and Cougs would then trade goals and end the quarter tied again, 8-8.
The Buffs came out strong in the fourth with a quick goal and tough D. The Colorado zone continued to frustrate the Cougars, knocking down any ball that came across the middle. With just six minutes left in the game, BYU finally broke the Colorado D when Matheson dodged to the middle and finished with a strong left-handed shot. But, just as they had done all game, Colorado responded and sophomore attackmen Jace Gan dodged from the wing and scored. On the very next possession, Buffalo Zach Pendleton caught the ball on the doorstep and scored, putting Colorado up 11-9 with just four minutes left to play. A hold on Colorado gave the Cougars a great chance to close the gap, but the Cougars missed a shot on a one-on-one with the keeper, ending their final comeback bid and locking up the final score, 11-9.
BYU will face another tough test next Friday when No. 1 Colorado State comes to Provo for a 7pm showdown.

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