Eagle Valley boys lacrosse wins OT thriller in playoff opener | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley boys lacrosse wins OT thriller in playoff opener

After knocking off Telluride on the road, Devils face Ponderosa on Thursday

Heather Rawlings
Special to the Daily

The Eagle Valley High School Devils are heading on to the next round of the 4A state playoffs after upsetting Telluride on Tuesday.
Michael Rawlings/Special to the Daily

Call it a barnburner, a nail-biter, hairy, anxiety-inducing or just plain exciting, but the bottom line is that the Eagle Valley High School boys lacrosse team kept everyone on the edge of their seats on Tuesday in Telluride as they edged out the Miners by a score of 12-11 in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.

It’s not easy to spend four and a half hours on a bus and then get yourself in the proper mindset to play a do-or-die game, but the Devils, the No. 11 seed, rallied to get it done over the sixth-seeded Miners, even if they did wait until a minute and a half into the four-minute, sudden-death overtime period to do it.

Senior captain Jensen Rawlings won the faceoff as the Devils started overtime shorthanded, and a minute and 40 seconds later Julius Peterson did what the Peterson brothers do best and buried an impossible shot, with his brother Erich providing the assist.

Coach Nick Carter said that it’s no surprise the brothers were ready to make the game-winning play.

“I’ve been coaching them since they were young, and they’ve just grown into really, really good players,” Carter said. “They’re not afraid of pressure, they’re used to it, and they stepped up to the challenge and finished the ball.”

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Rawlings and junior Nolan Miner were both on top of their faceoff game, winning the majority of their battles throughout the game.

“The faceoff guys were absolutely stellar,” Carter said. “Faceoffs and playing as a team are what brought us success in this game.”

The stands were packed with Telluride students, with an additional contingent sitting on a truck behind the Devils’ bench providing pointed heckling throughout the game. An impressive contingent of the Devils faithful also made the trek to Telluride to cheer the team on as they battled their way to victory.

Why is this team so impressive? Let’s start with the goalie, Xander Kostick, who, prior to this season, hadn’t played in goal since seventh grade. You wouldn’t have known that Tuesday as he came in clutch more than once with impressive save after impressive save.

“He took the plunge to be a goalie this year, and he turned out to be a very good goalie,” Carter said. “I credit that to my assistant coach Tom Dworak, he’s our goalie and defensive coach and he’s done a fantastic job molding Xander into a top-tier goalie.”

Freshman keeper Colin Desmond saw some playing time in the third period when Xander was injured in a collision with a Telluride player after denying a goal. While Desmond’s time in goal was short, he made a key save to keep the Devils in the game.

“He stepped up when we needed him and made a huge save,” Carter said. “He was a little apprehensive about it, being a freshman in a playoff game, but he pulled it off.”

The team is captained by senior attackman and valedictorian Sebie Witt, headed to West Point; Rawlings, committed to Colorado College; and defenseman Tyler Morrison, matriculating to CU Boulder, all of whom graduated with honors.

“After losing 15 seniors last year, a lot of guys stepped up to fill those positions, and we now have the best team that Eagle Valley has ever fielded,” Carter said. “We’re going to take that momentum from our first win and roll it into this next game, taking it one step at a time, always moving forward and bringing the program to where we want it to go.”

The Devils next face No. 3 Ponderosa at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinal round.

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