Sailors’ loss puts state playoff bid in jeopardy

Ben Ingersoll

— A late rally couldn’t save the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team in its Mountain Conference crossover game at Grand Junction on Friday, and now the Sailors’ state playoff fate will come down to coaches’ lobbying.

After a 3-3 tie in the first quarter, Grand Junction outscored the Sailors, 9-6, the rest of the way, downing Steamboat, 12-9. The win gave the Tigers third place in the conference, and dropped Steamboat to fourth.

“Grand Junction came out and kind of got the best of us today,” Sailors coach Jay Lattimore said. “It was a tough loss for the team, but again, it just shows us the Mountain Conference and everyone in it is catching up.”

Though Steamboat knocked off Grand Junction by five goals at Gardner Field just a few weeks ago, Lattimore said the Tigers put together a more complete outing on Friday, and some hometown officiating didn’t help the Sailors’ cause.

“The boys have to try to focus on lacrosse and not the referees, and sometimes that can be our problem,” Lattimore said. “We took a little too late into the fourth quarter to get the game going, but Grand Junction did a great job. They made us play hard.”

Mitch McCannon led the way with a trio of goals. Will Gunn, Jackson Draper and Andrew Firestone each pitched in two scores. Senior Aaron VanderGraaff started at goalie, giving up seven goals to seven saves. Peter Wharton finished the game in the cage, allowing five goals against eight saves.

Lattimore and the rest of the Colorado boys lacrosse coaches will meet in Denver on Sunday to discuss potential playoff seeds, and a decision will be made early next week. Though the Sailors dropped to 9-6 overall, they still feel they have a decent case to sneak into the 16-team state bracket, where anything can happen.

“I have to go in there and try to stake our claim that we deserve to be in the playoffs,” Lattimore said. “Steamboat has a good reputation in boys lacrosse, so hopefully, the quality wins we do have help.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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