Battle Mountain Huskies lax routs Summit for Senior Night
EDWARDS — It goes by quickly.
You’re a small freshman looking up to those seemingly otherworldly seniors and then you’re one of those seniors; you score twice on Senior Night and get the game ball.
That became reality for Battle Mountain boys lacrosse senior Colton Kirkutis on Wednesday, May 2, during a 16-5 win over Summit County.
“That was pretty awesome,” Kirkutis said. “It’s pretty crazy that you look at the last four years, and they just fly by. You just can’t take it for granted. You’ve gotta take in every moment.”
A very big moment is on the horizon — Saturday, May 5, at Steamboat Springs, the season finale for both teams. The Huskies enter at 11-2 overall and 9-0 in the Western Conference, while the Sailors are 10-3 and 7-1. Steamboat’s only loss in the Western was at Battle Mountain on March 30. Playoff seeding and the league title are on the line.
While it’s technically a regular-season game, Saturday’s game will be a postseason one when it comes to intensity. One of the things the Huskies have been fine-tuning is the start of a game.
After being on the wrong end of a 5-1 deficit in a 9-7 loss at Littleton, the Huskies know they can’t fall behind in games against quality opponents, such as Steamboat or during the playoffs, which start on Wednesday, May 9.
Since Littleton, Battle Mountain has outscored its opponents, 14-4, in the first quarter during the last four games, including two 4-0 leads after 12 minutes in the last week against Glenwood Springs and Summit.
“We’ve played two games in a row now where we’ve gotten off to a good start,” Huskies coach Pat Doherty said. “We’re going to absolutely need that on Saturday against Steamboat. We’re focusing on possessing the ball, being patient with it and, at the same time, taking advantage of our opportunities.”
Before anyone got settled, Kirkutis had scored the first of his two. Mike Barrows, Parker Nash and Charlie Morrow found the net during the first quarter, and the Huskies had smothered any hope of a Summit upset.
The Huskies led 8-1 at the half and continued to pepper the Tigers net throughout the game — again, Battle Mountain is trying to score at a 50-percent rate and it was close on Thursday.
Morrow ended up having a hat trick, while Jeremy Sforzo had two goals and five assists.
At the half, and before the second-half deluge of cold rain, the Huskies honored their Class of 2018 — Jonah Zeigler, Nathan Cook, Sforzo, Barrows, Bryce Runckel, Kirkutis, Jake Bukovich, Morrow, Ricky Cuny, Nicholas Hancock, Jake Dippy, Pacho Berrio Assaf and Weston Tierney.
As is customary, the seniors filled out a questionnaire for Mike Claymon to read at the half. The consensus favorite moment of the senior class was beating Steamboat Springs, 5-4, in triple overtime earlier this year on a Tucker Morrow goal.
Both teams essentially have been counting down to this since their last meeting.
“I think we played a really good game the last time we played,” Doherty said. “We look at the film and make some adjustments.”
One thing to remember is that Sforzo missed that first meeting with a concussion, and he’s likely a big offensive factor in a game where goals will likely be scarce.”
Senior long-stick middie Zeigler also missed that first meeting. He’s pretty pumped for Saturday.
“It’s a big game. I’m excited,” he said. “I didn’t get to play last time. I got to see their middies and what they play like. They’re very motivated, for sure.”