Battle Mountain lax advances to quarterfinals
EDWARDS —There is good news and bad news when it comes to Battle Mountain boys lacrosse in the first round of the 4A state playoffs on Wednesday, May 9.
The good news? No. 3 Battle Mountain boys lacrosse survived an early scare from No. 14 Windsor before dispatching the Wizards, 10-5, to Friday, May 11’s quarterfinals against either Aspen or Evergreen, who played late Wednesday night.
The bad news is that a fight broke out on the field with two seconds to go. The visiting Wizards were chippy, knowing their season was done. Unfortunately, Battle Mountain responded.
And the Huskies will be without senior Charlie Morrow, who was ejected for his part in the retaliation in the fight.
“We obviously played hard for 47 minutes and 58 seconds, and to lose our composure with two seconds left in the game and lose one of best players for the next game is completely unacceptable,” Huskies coach Pat Doherty said. “That was the message that was portrayed (after the game in the locker room). (Windsor was) playing with nothing to lose and we had everything to lose and we just need to do a better job of just walking away in the scenario.”
Cranking on offense
And that, unfortunately, took a bit of the luster off a great game for Battle Mountain (13-2).
Perhaps it was a little bit of the jitters — this group of Huskies has not entered the postseason as a favorite before. The visiting Wizards (6-10) took a 3-2 lead in the second quarter on tallies by Tayt Gallatin.
“It was a combination of a couple of things,” Doherty said. “They had the playoff jitters coming into it, but they shook those off pretty well. I think a large part of a lack of goals was (Windsor) possessing the ball. They were making a concerted effort to hold on to the ball.”
And slow down the game. But the Huskies found their footing. Tom Boyne, as part of a big day, assisted Sforzo with 8:38 left in the second to tie it at three. Boyne had hat trick by the third quarter.
The brothers Morrow gave the Huskies the lead as Charlie fed Tucker for a 4-3 edge. Tucker Morrow was also on his way to the hat trick.
The slam-the-door-moment came, though, with nine seconds left in the half. Sforzo fed Tucker Morrow with yet another slick pass. Slick passes from Sforzo aren’t exactly breaking news, but the Huskies drew a penalty, which carried over to the second half.
Charlie Morrow won the opening second-half faceoff, and it went from Charlie to Michael Barrows to Sforzo to Tucker in nine seconds for a goal to start final 24 minutes with a 6-3. That is the killer instinct the teams need in the postseason, and in Battle Mountain parlance, “We lacrosse.”
Boyne and Jayme Belyea added goals in the third quarter and Sforzo and Charlie Morrow piled on during the fourth.
Defense doesn’t rest
But don’t forget the defense. Goalie Connor Underwood and company kept a lid on things early when the Huskies’ offense wasn’t cranking. Underwood is quickly approaching, if not exceeding, Zach Trombetta status.
And the defense continues to hold good opponents to single digits. As eye-popping as offense can be, defense is steady and, yes, it’s cliche, but it wins championships.
“Connor continues to get better and better and better,” Doherty said. “He makes huge saves every game. The kid’s playing great, and the defense is playing really well as well.”
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.