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No. 11 Utah Suffers First Home Loss Of The Season to No. 6 Colorado

The Utah Utes couldn’t finish out a comeback against an energetic Colorado squad on Friday night in Salt Lake City, losing their first division game of the season, and dropping to a 4-3 record overall. The game started out with a different emotion than normal for the Utes, yet it was the same scenario as weeks past. Utah was looking for another big upset win over a higher ranked team but just couldn’t come through this time.
Colorado had come into the field house Friday night making their presence known by “talkin’ it up” and shutting up Utah’s bench.  The Buffaloes were the more vocal team right out of the gate, making the Utes seem flat and uninspired.
Neither team scored until 6:44 in the first quarter, which may be a testament to the physicality of the game more than anything.  The Utes and The Buffs had an extremely tough battle and  there was plenty of  ref laundry on the field for this game. The penalties did not take away from the intensity of the contest, it actually helped wake Utah up from a slow start.
Neither team scored for another three and a half minutes until Utah answered back with two straight tallies.  Both goals came from a Mark Manning Assist to Danny Polityka to end the first with a score 2-1 Utah.  The Utes looked to control the tempo of the game coming in to the second quarter but The Buffaloes had other ideas.
Utah had scored only one goal in the second from a man-up possession to Colorado’s three goals. The Utes stilled looked good heading in to half, until the buffs scored a shocker with only :26 remaining flattening Utah’s bench once more.  Colorado Buffaloes attackmen A.J. Blackburn scored two goals of his own to end the first half and keep momentum locked down.
The Utes and Buffs battled in the third quarter scoring three goals each while turning up the pace of play.  There was not much ground gained or lost in the third which showed how much each team wanted this victory.  Utah looked to have one more trick up its sleeve to pull another one out over top ranked opponent by staying in it. Both teams had settled in and the fourth quarter looked to be a nail-biter with a score of 9-7 to start.
Colorado had edged the lead to three goals after an unassisted score from attackmen Michael Biemford, but Utah answered back with two straight of their own to cut the lead to one.  The Utes were on the verge of another comeback before the Buffaloes took over.  Colorado score three consecutive in five minutes shutting down Utah’s high powered offense and pushing the game out of hand.  Each team scored one more each ending the game at 13-9.
Danny Polityka led the way for Utes scoring 5 Goals and 1 assist, with Mark Manning notching 4 assists of his own.  Utah goalie Alex Watanawekin faced a lot of shots in between the pipes for Utah and had 8 saves.
Aj Blackburn scored 5 goals and had 2 assists for the Buffaloes.  Goalie Cody Novack had 13 saves for Colorado with a stellar game in the cage.
Utah struggled in this game but showed they can play with any of the big boys.  Colorado was pumped up for Friday nights game and it showed on the scoreboard.
When asked about the game Utah’s head coach Ron Morris said “They came out and executed better than we did on all the littler parts of the game.  They cleared a little better than we did and rode us pretty hard.  Colorado is a good lacrosse team and we have to play better to beat a team like that.”
It is said that teams take on the personalities of their coaches and it held true in this game.  Morris is as calm and collected as they come and he has certainly influenced his team that way.  The Utes could have used some extra energy in this game but cooler heads should prevail later in the season, maybe come playoff time.
Utah plays San Diego next Thursday, March 17th in Salt Lake City, on McCarthey field on the university campus.

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