After three years of near misses in the Class 4A boys' lacrosse playoffs, Cheyenne Mountain has finally made it to the big show for the first time in program history.
The No. 7 Indians will play for a state title after a 13-5 effort over host No. 6 Aspen in the semifinals. Cheyenne Mountain will play No. 1 Dawson School on Friday at Mile High Stadium at 5 p.m. Dawson School has just one loss on the season and defeated No. 4 Golden 14-2 on Wednesday.
The Indians (14-4) picked up the pace in the second quarter of Wednesday's semifinal game, scoring five goals in the second frame after holding a narrow 1-0 lead through the first. A 10-1 lead guided them into the final frame.
"The first quarter we had shots but they just didn’t go in, and we have a philosophy on the team to just keep plugging away and that second quarter just opened up for us," Cheyenne Mountain coach Mike Paige said. "The guys played a phenomenal game from there."
Goalie Liam Hybl posted a shutout in the first half, but Aspen went on a run in the waning minutes, scoring four unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to cut Cheyenne Mountain's lead to five.
Paige said, "Lacrosse is a game of momentum and to have a goalie shut down their scorers early and say, you’re not going to get the ball by me, that gets frustrating for them, and then things start to swing in our momentum."
Hybl finished the game with 10 saves.
Cheyenne Mountain captain Jack Egan led the team with four goals and three assists, Wiley Burkett had three goals. Jack Paul scored three times and had one assist, and James LaCerte found the back of the cage twice. Mark Reynolds had three helpers.
"We’re moving on and it’s going to be phenomenal, it's the first time in our history, but I just want another day on the practice field and another game with them," Paige said. "A state championship is secondary to the brotherhood we have. We have worked so hard for eight years to build this program and they really believe in one another, and that’s what so special about a game like today."