Golden muscles out Steamboat boys lacrosse in state playoffs
ARVADA — The miracle for the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team came earlier in the week, a game-tying goal with no time remaining in regulation, then another game-winning strike in overtime that set the Sailors up for Friday’s Class 4A state quarterfinal showdown on the road against Golden.
Friday, Steamboat was out muscled, out shot and out played and there was no last-second heroics to change the headline as the team fell in the playoffs to Golden, 12-4.
“They came in a lot rougher. We tried to come in with the same intensity, but that was mainly what the game was made off. They built off of that,” Steamboat senior Kaden Mendonca said. “It was a good game. They’re a team I really respect. I wouldn’t have picked a better game for the end of my senior year.”
The Sailors ended this season at the same spot they ended last season, in the second round of the state tournament, though they did so with a much better record, finishing the year 12-5, the most wins they’ve had in a season since 2014.
At their best, they were a goal-scoring machine with a strong defense, a combination that had them at or near the top of the RPI rankings throughout the season, and a constant presence in the 4A state polls.
That offense at times dried up against the best competition, however, and it was plenty dry Friday. Three goals was the team’s lowest output of the season, and Golden did it by applying pressure around the field.
No Sailor advanced the ball upfield without a defender in his face and a stick swinging to dislodge the ball, and in turn, plenty of Sailors struggled to advance the ball up the field.
Turnovers plagued Steamboat in the first half and a string of penalties made it even worse. All three of Golden’s second-quarter goals came in man-up situations.
“We put ourselves in tough positions being in the box. This game’s really not made to be played a man down,” coach Jay Lattimore said. “Our defense worked hard to try to make up for it, but it wasn’t enough.”
Steamboat started the game with a goal from Kieran Hahn, who won the opening face-off and quickly scored. The team didn’t score again until the second half, however.
Golden rattled off seven unanswered goals in the first half, then scored the first of the second half, as well, to take an 8-1 lead.
The Sailors finally scored again on a gritty play from junior Ben Hoefer. He kept his back to the goal as he pushed his way through a trio of Golden defenders, then turned and, as he was falling, let loose a shot.
Senior David LaPoint added another goal soon after, converting after a long run down the field. Curtis Maltby, a senior, then put a shot away in the fourth quarter.
Those opportunities never amounted to enough to truly win Steamboat the game’s momentum. Golden kept the Sailors leading scorer, senior Davis Petersen, in check all evening. Petersen had three goals when the teams met earlier in the season, a game Golden won 10-6. He was kept scoreless Friday.
“They brought a lot of energy and they were on top of our guys a little more than we were on top of them,” Lattimore said. “They made it hard on us and we weren’t able to create opportunities for ourselves.”
The Demons, 14-3 on the season and the No. 4 seed in the tournament, will now travel to play Dawson School, the top seed in the tournament. Dawson beat Valor Christian 12-9 on Friday.
On the other side of the bracket, a pair of teams Steamboat beat this season pulled upsets to make the semifinals. No. 6 Aspen beat No. 3 Battle Mountain 9-8 to advance where it will play No. 7 Cheyenne Mountain, which beat No. 2 Thompson Valley.
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