Written by Miguel Mendez
The Colorado College men’s lacrosse team traveled to California last weekend to take on their biggest rival, the Whittier College Poets. CC won the game with a score of 13-8.
Whittier College and CC are the only two Division III programs in the West. This fueled the rivalry between the two schools and led to the development of the Locker-Stabler Cup that honors CC’s Doc Stabler and Whittier’s Doug Locker for bringing DIII lacrosse to the West. The trophy itself even says “Best in the West.”
“This rivalry has been going on for decades ever since they became a program,” said Head Coach Sean Woods. “Even when I took this job, the alumni would all tell me that we need to beat Whittier so there is a lot of history there.”
CC and Whittier are both independent and compete for three individual bids for the NCAA tournament. The game against Whittier already had historical meaning, and with a bid on the line, the most recent matchup was clearly of the highest importance.
“It was a huge game for our team and all of the alumni that have done so much for this program on and off the field,” said sophomore Robbie Stern. “We did not need any extra motivation. We prepared well all week and like our match-ups going into the game.”
CC began the game well, scoring two goals within the first six minutes. Stern assisted two of the three goals as the Tigers finished the first quarter 3-1. Whittier came into the second quarter looking to improve their game. The Poets were able to reduce the Tigers’ lead to just one right before the half.
“We were settling for shots in the first half. We pride ourselves on only taking great shots so the first half was very out of character for us,” said Woods. “We needed to stop taking so many suspect shots and just play a little harder.”
Whittier came out in the second half stronger than the Tigers as they scored two goals in the first five minutes of the half to take a one-point lead. Stern had a different idea. Stern added to his point total by scoring two goals for the Tigers about a minute from each other to tie the game up and then take the lead. Stern’s two goals sparked the start of a nine-goal run for the Tigers, spanning from the middle of the third quarter all the way to five minutes into the fourth quarter. CC got the score up to 13-5 until Whittier had a response that was too little, too late.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well in the first half. Coming out of the half we really focused on making our shots count and they started to fall in the second half,” said Stern. “We all just looked at each other and there was a moment of clarity. Nobody had to say anything, everybody just understood it was time to step up and take care of business.”
The game ended with a score of 13-8 and put CC in an opportune spot to receive a bid for the NCAA tournament. The Tigers will get another opportunity to play Whittier this Saturday at 7 p.m. This time it will be for the Locker-Stabler Cup.
“We want to come out and have better first quarter play. We’ve been struggling with this all season including last weekend’s game,” said Woods. “We just want to show the other team that we’re going to play our best today.”
“The team has been through a lot of adversity this season. The injuries have been difficult and we have had a few tough losses,” said Stern. “Being able to play Whittier again this weekend is a great opportunity for us to take another quality opponent before the tournament. The team has been working for this moment since 8th block last year. These next three weeks are everything for us.”