Scouting state playoffs: 6 local lacrosse teams set sights on state

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Photo - The Pine Creek Eagles (9) girls varsity lacrosse host the Cheyenne Mountain Indians (8) in a home conference game Wednesday April 25, 2018. Photo by Jeff Kearney.
The Pine Creek Eagles (9) girls varsity lacrosse host the Cheyenne Mountain Indians (8) in a home conference game Wednesday April 25, 2018. Photo by Jeff Kearney.

BOYS

CLASS 5A

No. 12 Lewis-Palmer

Game data: No. 12 Lewis-Palmer (9-6) at No. 5 Cherry Creek (12-3) … Wednesday, May 9, 6 p.m. at Stutler Bowl.

Scouting report: A year ago the Lewis-Palmer boys’ lacrosse team put up its best regular-season performance in nine years, but a first-round playoff loss ended things quickly.

After losing 13 seniors from that 14-1 regular season, Lewis-Palmer will have an uphill battle in the 5A state playoffs, facing No. 5 Cherry Creek in the first round. But the Rangers seem to have found a groove in the second half of the season.

Lewis-Palmer won eight of its last 10 games, outscoring opponents 96-70 along the way. Arguably Lewis-Palmer’s two biggest wins of the year came down to the final two games of the regular season when the Rangers upset No. 3 Mountain Vista in a 9-8 victory on the road, and then pulled off another one-point win over Cherokee Trail.

Senior Garrett Ziegler is third in Class 5A in points, tied with Jacob Brunner of Lakewood with 72. Zeigler has 43 goals and 29 assists to lead the Rangers. His brother Cade Ziegler is second on the team in points with 31 goals and 21 assists, and Andrew Manney has 34 goals and 11 helpers.

Sophomore Paxton Crowell is Lewis-Palmer’s No. 1 in the cage with a .537 save percentage.

The Rangers will need Crowell to be in top shape on Wednesday, as Cherry Creek is a high-scoring team, averaging 13 goals per game. L-P, on the other hand, averages nine. The Bruins have a balanced offense with nine players that have scored 10 or more goals this year, led by Gabriel Minisini with 26 goals and 12 assists.

Cherry Creek also won 66 percent of its faceoffs in the regular season, led by Luke Rios who has won 160 of 246.

CLASS 4A

No. 7 Cheyenne Mountain

Game data: No. 10 Littleton (10-5) vs. No. 7 Cheyenne Mountain (11-4) … Wednesday, May 9, 7:30 p.m. at Cheyenne Mountain.

Scouting report: After making it all the way to the 4A state semifinals last year, the Cheyenne Mountain boys’ lacrosse team was looking for redemption at the start of the 2018 campaign.

A five-game winning streak and a double-overtime victory over Valor Christian, the team that knocked them out in the semifinals last year, was certainly a good way to start.

The Indians head into the playoffs on a two-game winning streak, including a big 13-10 win over Air Academy for the 4A Southern crown. 

The Indians have seven scorers who have netted 10 or more goals in the regular season, led by Jack Eagan (23 goals and 24 assists), and Jack Paul (27 G, 19 A). Sophomore James LaCerte is second on the team in goals with 24.  

Liam Hybl and Austin Cook split time in the cage for a combined .587 save percentage. Each posted a shutout during the regular season and allow, on average, 5.85 goals per game.

Offensively, Littleton is similar to Cheyenne Mountain as the Lions average 11 goals per game (the Indians average 12). Although Littleton does not have the scoring depth that Cheyenne Mountain has, the Lions boast two of the states top scorers, Matty Paredes and Liam O’Malley, who are Colorado’s No. 2 and No. 3 goal scorers, respectively. Paredes leads the team with 59 goals and 27 assists, followed by O’Malley with 56 goals and 20 assists, making up 68 percent of Littleton’s total offense.

Patrick Little is Littleton’s go-to man in the cage with a .553 save percentage, and allows on average 8.5 goals per game.

GIRLS

No. 7 Pine Creek

Game data: No. 7 Pine Creek earned a first-round bye and will face No. 10 Arapahoe (10-5), which also earned a pass in the first round, on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Pine Creek. The Eagles secured the first-round bye thanks to its 13-2 regular season and perfect record in the Southern Girls lacrosse league.

No. 16 Cheyenne Mountain

Game data: No. 17 Centaurus (8-7) vs. No. 16 Cheyenne Mountain (9-6) …Tuesday, May 8, 6:45 at Cheyenne Mountain High School.

Scouting report: In late March, Cheyenne Mountain squeaked by Centaurus in a 12-11 nonconference victory, thwarting a second-half Warriors comeback.

After that, the Indians went on a six-game winning streak before entering a four-game skid. Cheyenne Mountain got back on the winning side in the final game of the regular season, though, claiming a 20-10 victory over Liberty.

Averaging 15 goals per game, Cheyenne Mountain has a heavy artillery with seven players who have scored 10 or more goals, and three with 30 or more tallies on the season.

Rylie Maready is the team’s top scorer with 50 goals, followed by Nicole Beaulieu with 48 goals and 13 assists. Mallory Hybl scored 35 goals and had 11 assists, while Madelyn Lewis is third on the team in points with 28 goals and 25 assists.

Cheyenne Mountain is ranked fifth in the state with 223 goals through 15 games.

Centaurus is also a high-scoring team, averaging 13 goals per game with seven scorers with 10 or more goals this season, led by Delaney Pratt with 42 goals. Campbell Breithaupt is second on the team in points with 25 goals and 20 assists, while Kyra Barnes is the second-leading goal scorer with 33.

Cheyenne Mountain and Centaurus are also similar in the cage, as both teams allow just over nine goals per game. The Indians, however, have a slight edge in draw controls, winning 55 percent, where the Warriors win 50 percent.

No. 18 Palmer Ridge

Game data: No. 18 Palmer Ridge (8-7) vs. No. 15 Valor Christian (8-7) … Wednesday, May 9, 8 p.m. at Valor Christian High School

Scouting report: Palmer Ridge gets a rematch after a 15-8 loss to Valor Christian in the first game of the season, but this time, everything is on the line.

The Bears are a much different team than the one that hosted Valor on March 8. Palmer Ridge overcame a tough start to the season in which it lost the first four, and ended the year on a six-game winning streak.

The Bears average 12 goals per game, led by freshman phenom Hannah Dove, who has 48 goals and seven assists. Liz Phillips is tied with Dove in points with 44 goals and 11 assists. Olivia Tighe, another freshman, is third on the team in points with 20 goals and 16 helpers.

Valor Christian also averages 12 goals per game, but has a deeper roster of scorers with seven players with 10 or more goals. Ally Gibb leads the Eagles with 35 goals and 12 assists, while freshman Lauren Rismani has 28 goals and 19 assists.

Palmer Ridge’s defense must play a tight game in order to hold off all of Valor’s weapons. The Bears allow, on average, 11.4 goals per game, while Valor allows 9.3.

Valor Christian narrowly beat Palmer Ridge in the RPI thanks in part to its difficult schedule. The Eagles have a 7.3 strength of schedule rating, whereas Palmer Ridge has a 6.5 rating. Valor’s opponents winning percentage bumped its RPI up to .566, while the Bears fell to .556.

No. 20 Air Academy

Game data: No. 20 Air Academy (8-7) vs. No. 13 Aspen (11-3) … Wednesday, May 9, 5:30 p.m. at Aspen High School

Scouting report: A two-game winning streak leads Air Academy into the postseason as the Kadets face a true test in the first round. Aspen is riding a six-game winning streak into the postseason, while two of its three losses on the season have come from top-7 teams, Pine Creek and Denver East.

Thankfully for the Kadets, they have a not-so-secret weapon on their side - the state’s sixth-ranked scorer, Reagan Brenenstuhl, who leads Air Academy with 66 goals and eight assists.

Air Academy boasts a powerful, averaging 13 goals per game, and a pair of 40-goal scorers behind Brenenstuhl. Avery Rodny and Whitney Moran have 44 and 42 goals on the season, respectively.  

Aspen’s complete season stats are not available on MaxPreps, but in the three games listed, sophomore Charlotte Howie leads the Skiers with 10 goals through two games.

Air Academy averages 10.4 goals against, with Lauren Berg likely getting the nod in goal. She has played 408 minutes this season with a .405 save percentage.