Huskies try to make case with win vs. Ralston
EDWARDS — It’s getting harder and harder for the world of Colorado high school girls lacrosse to ignore the Mountain Conference, and, more particularly, that silly little Battle Mountain team.
Those silly little Huskies ladies, in the eyes of the Front Range, beat Ralston Valley, 13-12, on Thursday afternoon in Edwards. The Mustangs are ranked no. 9 in the CHSAA poll in the state. Maxpreps.com has Ralston Valley at No. 13. Laxpower.com says Ralston is No. 7 in the Centennial State.
The Mustangs are 10-3 overall and 6-0 in the Jeffco Conference, leading that circuit.
“I think it’s really important for us because they’re ranked No. 7 in the state,” senior Morgan Harty said. “And that really helped us a lot and made us look really good, and it felt really good.”
That is a telling quote. Notice that Harty cited the laxpower.com ranking in which Ralston Valley is ranked the highest.
The reason for the citation of ranking is that, in the past, only the Mountain League champion gets a spot in the state playoffs, and the Huskies do not have that spot despite a sparkling 12-1 record. Aspen has earned the automatic qualification. The Skiers won the league game in March, and Huskies fans will be quick to point out that Battle Mountain went to Aspen and avenged that blemish nearly a month later.
CHSAA has never awarded an at-large bid to the Mountain Conference. After all, Fruita Monument won the circuit last year and got seeded No. 19 out of 20 teams in the playoffs. Fruita was squished, 18-6, in the first round.
This would be the point when everyone who’s every worn black and gold would jump up and down and yell, “It was Ralston Valley that beat Fruita, 18-6, last year.”
The Huskies are hoping and praying that Thursday’s win was enough to show CHSAA and the seeding committee that the level of lacrosse in the high country is rising and that this region deserves more that one token admission to the state tourney.
The defense doesn’t rest
For those who dismiss mountain-area lacrosse, they missed a heck of game on Thursday. The Huskies controlled the flow in the first half, leading 9-6 at the break.
In the second half, Battle Mountain upped that lead to 11-6 before the visiting Mustangs ripped off five straight goals.
With 12:11 left, Battle Mountain and Ralston Valley were knotted at 11. While it was nail-biting time, the defense dug in, making its stand. So props to Ciara Heiden, Natalie Berger, Clara Cappel, Eleanor Sheahan and Berit Kirchner.
“I’m so proud of them. They’ve always been really strong. These last few games, they’ve shown how strong they can be,” Huskies senior Linsday Sierant said. “They’ve helped out Siena tremendously. We couldn’t have done it without them, even though we do have a phenomenal goalie.”
And, yes that would be Siena Miller between the pipes. Up 13-12, thanks to two clutch goals from Haley Frischholz, Ralston’s Jessica Gobson has a point-blank opportunity to send the game to overtime, but Miller did her best “You get nothing and like it, Spaulding,” imitation. Of course, Miller is probably too young to get the “Caddyshack” reference, but it was one of many key stops by the netminder.
There were still about 10 seconds left, which felt like an hour, and the Huskies needed a clear.
“Omigosh, they were brutal,” Miller said of those 10 ticks. “But it was so exciting to see us hold the possession and stay strong with the ball. I think because our catching and passing was crisp I knew that we were going to take it. It was our game.”
It was, and the Huskies spilled out onto the field merrily after beating a team that has qualified for the state playoffs the last two years running. (Just saying.)
Battle Mountain has one more piece of business left. The Huskies host Pueblo West for Senior Night at 4 p.m. today. With a win, they would be able to ask the rhetorical question, “Can you leave a 13-1 team out of the postseason?”
Either way, there’s no questioning that this team is a special one.
“We’ve been on the team for four years and played with three other great teams,” senior Hannah Gershenoff said. “But this year’s team has really brought it. … We’re a team. We don’t necessarily read each other’s minds but we know what’s going to happen. We connect the dots.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.