Dawson ends Battle Mountain lax’s season
EDWARDS — OK, so if one is really looking for a silver lining, at least Battle Mountain boys won’t have to make its third trip in four weeks to Aspen.
Back in March, Huskies lacrosse rallied from a 10-4 deficit for an 11-10 overtime win at the Dawson School. There was no comeback on Friday as the visiting Mustangs eliminated Battle Mountain, 12-10, during the state quarterfinals.
Dawson is off to the state semifinals in Aspen, while the Huskies had a frustrating end in the round of eight for the second straight year.
“That feels good, man,” Dawson School coach Peter Devlin said. “I’m really proud of our players. We came together as a team and were able to put it together and persevere through some tough times today. They were courageous and brave today.”
The Huskies, who finish the year at 12-5, weathered the early storm against the most potent offense in the state in the Mustangs, erasing a 3-1 deficit and taking a 7-5 lead with 8:03 left in the third quarter.
But Dawson (11-6), behind midfielder Kyle Sudol, who was masterful on faceoffs, ripped off six straight goals and secured the school’s first trip to the Final Four.
“We’re lucky to have him,” Devlin said of Sudol. “He’s worked hard at his craft. He did a good job today.”
Huskies coach Jerry Nichols wouldn’t argue with that assessment.
“Their faceoff guy earned them a ton of possessions,” he said. “That was the game-maker.”
Coming in waves
Since Dawson was averaging a state-high of 14.7 goals per game, the easiest way to shut down the Mustangs was to win those faceoffs and possess the ball.
Plan B was Battle Mountain’s defense trying to deny the Mustangs from feeding the crease for the easy score. When Dawson was on the outside, heavy checking to prevent good looks at the goal was the order of the day.
Battle Mountain’s defense did a solid job of both, and Huskies goalie Max Schramm was outstanding early on, but there’s only so much pressure a team can take.
Throw in some untimely penalties by the Huskies, and Dawson was on its way.
The Mustangs tied it up on even-strength goals by Zach Rinard and Jack Shams. Attacker Chase Brown got what would be the game-winner on a two-man advantage with 1:12 left in the third.
Dawson’s Wyatt Watts made it 9-7 to start the fourth. Teammate Jessie Rosenblatt happily took advantage of a Huskies’ holding penalty and ripped the twine for a 10-7 lead. The Mustangs’ Gavyn Pure got the next two, the second on another Huskies’ infraction and, despite a valiant three-goal surge by Battle Mountain during the final five minutes, this one was over.
After the game, Nichols expressed slight displeasure with the whistles, but said that the officiating didn’t decide the game.
Assessing a season
The Huskies were in disarray early and down 3-1 after the first quarter and followed that with a magnificent rally. Battle Mountain dominated the second quarter with goals by Clayton Davis (twice), Jack Nichols, Charlie Morrow and Cole Delain. Battle Mountain led 6-4 at the half, but, lacrosse is a game of momentum, as the Huskies have learned the past two years, and the Mustangs are one of four teams left standing along with Aspen, Cheyenne Mountain and Valor Christian.
“Fourth seed in the state in what’s it, our sixth year with the program? Yeah I’m super-proud of it,” coach Nichols said. “Did I have my heart set on getting to the state finals this year? Absolutely. Do I consider the season not successful? Absolutely not. We had a successful season on many fronts.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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