Fruita Monument tops Eagle Valley lacrosse
GYPSUM — It’s been a tough road for Eagle Valley boys lacrosse in recent years, but the Devils may not be far from their desired destination.
Eagle Valley lost its home opener to 5A Fruita Monument, 10-4, on Tuesday afternoon at the Gypsum Sports Complex, but the takeaway was that there wasn’t much separating the Wildcats and the Devils.
“We’re a young team. It’s early in the season. That’s a strong 5A team,” Devils coach Boomer Devlin said. “I like the way we fought to the end. I like the way we stuck to the game plan. Good things are going to come. The things that killed us are what always kills a team in a lacrosse game — too many lost balls and a couple of mistakes on the defensive end.”
The Devils probably have the talent to compete in the Western Conference — they begin by hosting Steamboat Springs on Friday. The bigger question is believing they can do so.
Devlin is in his second year at the head of the program, which is a positive. The flip side of that is that he’s the class of 2017’s third coach in four years.
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“We’re not a young team by age, but we’re young by experience level,” Devlin said. “We’ve got to get them to believe in each other by celebrating the little successes and competing at every turn. Nothing can be easy to the opposing team.”
The small things
To that end, Eagle Valley made strides in the little things on Tuesday. Fruita dominated faceoffs early, but an interesting change of strategy turned the tide. The Devils’ Alex Fritzler let Fruita have initial possession of the ball and then swarmed the face-off man as he looked to distribute, often causing turnovers and Devils possessions.
Ground balls were also a difficulty, particularly early. Combine that with faceoff troubles and any team is hard pressed to find success. Nonethleless, Eagle Valley was still in striking distance at the half, only down, 5-2. Give the Devils’ defense and goalie Spencer Burwell credit on that count.
“Ground balls are a part of the game,” Devlin said. “There are a couple of strategies you have to learn to go into it. We work on it every day. We’re definitely getting better at it. A big team with some bigger kids kind of took it to us.”
Eagle Valley (1-1) kept battling and started to get to some of the loose balls as the afternoon continued, and that started translating on the offensive end of the field.
Holden Staveney scored the Devils’ first goal. Kenny Rindy had the next two and Keaton Fedrizzi had the last.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.