Sailors too much for Wildcats
For coach Mark Young, it’s been a short three years since Fruita Monument High School started a boys lacrosse team.
The buzz surrounding lacrosse on the Western Slope is enormous. Teams like Steamboat Springs and Aspen have battled with Denver-area powerhouses like Grandview and Valor Christian. Fruita wants be part of that mix, sooner rather than later.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 4-0 start, including a win over rival Grand Junction, and for the first time found themselves contending in a top-heavy Mountain Lacrosse League.
But Fruita has suffered growing pains when facing top-tier opponents, falling to Battle Mountain 12-7 on Wednesday, and then losing again Saturday, this time to Steamboat Springs 12-4.
“Aspen beat Battle Mountain and we have a shot to beat Aspen,” Young said. “In this league, anybody can beat anybody on any day. What’s great is that this is third year Fruita’s had a lacrosse team. Steamboat’s had a team for forever and our youth still shows at times. We’re going to build on the experience and keep growing.“Turnovers hamstrung the Wildcat offense. In the first half, Fruita (4-2, 4-2 MLL) turned the ball over 12 times in its defensive third and four times in the midfield. After Fruita scored the first goal of the game, those turnovers led to a 7-0 run by Steamboat Springs. Steamboat went up 8-3 at halftime, and held Fruita without a shot in the third quarter.
“All our problems were fundamental,” Young said. “We couldn’t scoop, we couldn’t clear, we couldn’t pass or catch and we couldn’t score. We have to keep our heads up and keep looking for opportunities.
“The opportunities are there, but we’re too nervous to convert on anything.”
Upperclassmen leadership showed in the loss. Wyatt Allen assisted on three of Fruita’s goals and Jack Deitl had a goal. Junior Aiden Woomer led Fruita with two goals, and converted both his shots on goal.
Corey Hendricksen saw 18 shots on goal and snagged six saves. Steamboat (7-1, 6-0 MLL) outshot Fruita 28-14 and Fruita had eight shots on goal.
“We’re a good group,” Young said. “Archer (Maddox), Aiden (Woomer), Jacob Lynch and Chaz (Lakin) are all true leaders on this team. We have a good group, we just happened to have the three toughest games on our schedule right in a row.”
Fruita hosts a nonleague matchup against Thompson Valley before facing off against Eagle Valley at home. The Wildcats opened the season beating Eagle Valley 10-2 in Gypsum.