Devils’ laxers host Eagle Valley Invite
EAGLE – It didn’t matter that the host Eagle Valley lacrosse squd had only 16 players for its Invitational round-robin tournament Saturday. The Devils still found a way to start and end the day with one-goal victories.”These guys play with a lot of heart,” said Eagle Valley coach Eric Mandeville. “We slowed down the game a bit since we don’t have the numbers.”In both their 7-6 win over Glenwood and 2-1 win over Aspen, the Devils came from behind after trailing early.”Being down is a fun time,” said Eagle Valley’s Ethan Gilbert. “If you ask anyone, they’ll say, ‘I don’t want to be down,’ but I think it brings up your intensity. Once you get that tying goal, you’re hungry for another one.”True to his words, Gilbert used a great feed from teammate Michael Haskins to rip a shot past Aspen’s goalie and give his team a 2-1 lead early in the second half.”That was a perfect pass,” Gilbert said. “It was right in my pocket. He put it right over the defenseman’s stick.”
For the remainder of the second half, the Devils played sound and gutsy defense. Defenseman Ethan Andree jumped in front of several shots and even used his helmet to block a point-blank scoring chance.”They are not afraid to sell the body,” Mandeville said.And when the shots eluded the defenders, Lance Kohl was in net to deny Aspen from just about every angle.”Lance was a brick wall. He stopped everything,” Gilbert said. “And our defense had a fire inside of them.”After the Devils opened the day by beating Glenwood, they fell to Summit, 14-2.”We played in a back-to-back game, and (Summit) has lots of players,” Mandeville said.
Huskies aboundBattle Mountain started the day with a 7-6 win over Aspen.”We kept possession on offense a lot and moved the ball and made opportunities,” said Battle Mountain coach Kelly Coffey.On several goals, the Huskies’ Bryan Daino and Barrett Chow took advantage of one-on-one plays with Aspen defenders.”We kept the middies up high and really focused on isolations with attackman coming from behind,” Coffey said. “We got open well and got into position well, which didn’t happen in the Summit game.”The Huskies fell to the Tigers, 10-2.”Summit took advantage of our mistakes,” Coffey said. “It’s not that they are better than we are individually, but they took advantage of our mistakes very well.”
With more than forty kids on their roster, the Huskies played some of their B-side players in a 7-1 loss to Glenwood.”They haven’t had a whole lot of playing time this year, so getting them out there against a good team like that worked well,” said Battle Mountain coach Todd Goulding.Glenwood took an early 2-0 lead, but Battle Mountain settled down and established some ball control before halftime.”We were trying to get out of the salt-lick ball where everyone hangs around trying to get the ground ball,” Goulding said. “We were getting the game back in the air off the ground.”ProgressLast year, Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain fielded separate teams after they played together as a unified team for several years.
“It’s great to have an in-valley rivalry,” Goulding said. Earlier this week, Battle Mountain beat Eagle Valley, 10-8.Many players on both teams are in their first or second year with the game.”A lot of the younger guys are stepping up,” said Gilbert, who has been playing for four years and is one of Eagle Valley’s captains. “It’s a lot of fun because me, Shelton (Adams) and Travis (Padgett) … tell some of the young guys, ‘You’ve gotta work on this,’ then they go out there and work on it the next day and have it perfect. It’s good to have that kind of respect for your captains and having that much effort to go out there and work on it.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado