Lacrosse roundup: Devils scorch Ponderosa to earn 4A semis; VMS falls
Two road games, two upsets for resilient Eagle Valley while the Gore Rangers come up short
Special to the Daily
Eagle Valley’s boys lacrosse team is busting the 4A state bracket. The 11th-seeded Devils on Thursday pulled off their second upset in three days to advance to the semifinal round, knocking off No. 3 Ponderosa, 18-7.
The Mustangs had been undefeated before the Devils showed up Thursday after another long bus ride from Gypsum. The Devils on Tuesday knocked off No. 6 seed Telluride in an overtime thriller, 12-11
Who knows what they’re feeding these boys on the long bus rides, what music they’re using to get pumped up, or what the coaches are telling them, but the Devils faithful sure hopes that they don’t change a thing.
As usual, Eagle Valley fans made their presence known, but were vastly outnumbered by the home team’s fans, parents and cheerleaders. The host Mustangs got off to a quick start with a goal in the first minute of play. Declan Miner answered that goal in short order, notching the first goal for the Devils. After that, the Devils found their stride and were off and running.
The face-off team of Jensen Rawlings and Nolan Miner ensured that the team had possession of almost every ball dropped on center field. Once the Devils had possession, crisp passing and smart playing kept the Mustangs on the defense.
Speaking of defense, the Devils couldn’t have asked for more out of their defensive unit. Whenever the Mustangs had possession of the ball, there was a Devil in their face ready to relieve them of it. The defense didn’t allow the Mustangs to gain any momentum on the field, and it’s hard to score goals when you’re not letting the other team get many shots off.
When Ponderosa did have scoring opportunities, Xander Kostick was ready to take them on. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe Kostick’s play. He turned shot after shot away and made it look easy.
The Devils offense? They were everywhere and they were on fire. Junior Eric Hasley seemed to always be in the right place at exactly the right time, scoring six goals in the game. Senior Declan Miner found the back of the net twice during the match. Julius and Erich Peterson were, as usual, outstanding both in their ability to get the ball to the open man, and in finding the open spot in the net. Both of them had three goals.
Hunter Davis added to the scoreboard, bringing his usual brand of enthusiastic play which almost always includes some sort of happy skipping motion to let the fans know that, while he’s taking this seriously, he’s having fun as well.
Another notable player for the Devils is Will Geiman. His final tally of two goals is only part of the story. His ability to grab the ball in the defensive zone, get a bit of momentum going, and then barrel on into the offensive zone like a freight train and find the open player has been a key part of the Devils’ success this year.
With this win, the Devils advance to the semifinals on Saturday, team and location to be determined.
Cheyenne Mountain topples VMS
There’s a reason Cheyenne Mountain is the No. 1 seed in the 4A state playoffs. Vail Mountain School found that out the hard way on Thursday in Colorado Springs, losing 12-0.
Up against a bigger Front Range school dripping with talent, the No. 8 Gore Rangers struggled to win faceoffs and couldn’t find the net in a game that was delayed by lightning.
If there was a silver lining for the horde of Gore Rangers’ faithful who traveled in force to the game and sported playoff orange, it was this: This season was Vail Mountain’s best since 2017.
Vail Mountain School finishes the year 9-3 with a 4A Western Slope crown while Cheyenne Mountain will face the winner of Erie-Golden in the 4A semifinals.