Fruita lacrosse team gets playoff snub
Despite a 13-2 record and scoring 87 goals during the final five games of its season, the Fruita Monument High School girls lacrosse team was left out of the postseason when the 20-team field was announced Monday morning.
The Mountain League has only one automatic berth to postseason, which went to league champion Aspen. The Skiers (12-3) were seeded No. 13, and were the only league champion to not receive a first-round bye.
Dakota Ridge (8-7), Rampart (10-5), Grandview (9-6) and Mullen (9-6) were the final four teams selected.
“I think we earned a spot in the playoffs but you know the Front Range controls that and largely defers to Front Range teams,” Fruita Monument coach Mark Twardowski said.
“I think they would say strength of schedule is our problem, because we get very little respect for playing in the Mountain League. They basically don’t count our Mountain League wins. But I would disagree with saying our top tier — Aspen, Battle Mountain and depending on the day, Grand Junction — they can all compete with Front Range teams.”
Twardowski said the inclusion of Dakota Ridge at No. 16 stuck out to him.
Dakota Ridge lost to Battle Mountain, which finished third in the Mountain League, early in the season. The Eagles also beat Summit (5-10), another Mountain League team, by only one goal. Fruita Monument topped both Battle Mountain and Summit, including a 20-4 shellacking of the Tigers last weekend.
Summit Athletic Director Amy Raymond, who serves as the Mountain League’s representative to the Colorado High School Activities Association, said watching Fruita Monument beat Summit left an impression on her. She also pointed to Dakota Ridge as an odd postseason selection.
“I did what I could, and it was disappointing to me that Fruita didn’t make it in,” she said Monday afternoon. “When they came in and creamed (Summit), it was amazing for me to watch, and that’s what I told the selection committee.
“I thought Fruita Monument was outstanding and I told Mark that. The thing that got me was Dakota Ridge. Had Dakota Ridge been seeded like 19th or 20th you could make an argument even though (Summit) only lost to them by one.
“But they’re 16th even though they lost to Battle Mountain. They beat teams like Wheat Ridge, Rampart and Golden and some of those teams in that Jeffco League and that did it for the committee.”
CHSAA lists its seeding critera as:
■ Conference/league standings (a team cannot be seeded ahead of a league team that finished higher in the league standings).
■ Coaches poll.
■ Head-to-head results/common opponents/overall record.
■ Committee decision.
Raymond said Mountain League teams need to start winning playoff games to improve the reputation of the league.
“I’m all about the Mountain League and I thought Fruita Monument was a far superior team to Dakota Ridge,” Raymond said.
“If Aspen wins this game against Mullen, that will help advance everyone in the Mountain League and maybe we won’t have teams like Fruita being left out.”