Fruita Monument tops Aspen in boys lacrosse
The Fruita Monument High School boys lacrosse team hasn’t had many must-win games this season.
With the exception of a loss to Grand Junction, the season has played out almost exactly as coach Mark Young expected it to. But playing Aspen, which has been tied with Fruita for third in the Mountain Lacrosse League, was a game that could have gone either way.
Wednesday afternoon at Stocker Stadium, the Wildcats did just enough to top the Skiers 11-10 in an overtime thriller.
With about two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats were tired. Jack Dietel had left with a concussion, and the Wildcats’ defense had given up two breakaway goals.
Team captain and points leader Aiden Woomer was gassed. His ribs were bruised from multiple hits in the third quarter, and Aspen (8-4, 8-4 MLL) had a long-stick defender glued to him at all times. After a three-goal, two-assist performance in the first three quarters, Woomer and the Wildcats’ offense shut down.
With seconds left in the game, Woomer turned around to field a loose ball before being drilled from behind. Before Woomer got up, an altercation erupted between the teams. Two Fruita (10-4, 10-3 MLL) players left the bench, and left Fruita down a man heading into overtime.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of that scuffle because I was chasing players off the field,” Young said. “But being a man down, and my guys were dead, I told them we either have to win the first faceoff in overtime and score a goal in transition, or we’re going to play 12 minutes being really tired.”
Archer Maddox won 20 of 25 faceoffs, and his last win was key. He flipped the ball back to Woomer who, starting from behind the midfield line, weaved between two defenders to find open space.
He then spun off the last defender before firing a 20-foot shot as he was being checked by an Aspen defender in the opening seconds of overtime.
“I wasn’t really thinking much of anything,” Woomer said. “I kind of just fired it off and prayed it went in. I was looking up at the goal because I got knocked to the ground, saw that it went in, and was just happy.
“It was a great game. Really memorable for everyone, including the seniors. It was scary because of a few choice penalties there, but it was great.”
The Wildcats are third in the MLL standings, a half-game behind Battle Mountain.
Even with a second-place finish, Young said a playoff invite is unlikely for the Wildcats.
Each of the eight league winners automatically qualifies for the 24-team playoff. The remaining teams are decided by a selection committee made up of coaches from across the state.
“You know, it’s up to the guys in Denver,” Young said. “We finished 10-2 that first year and they didn’t let us go. Typically the last three years they’ve just invited Steamboat, who won our division, and that was it.
“It doesn’t make any sense, and they won’t talk to me about it. They told me at one time that ‘you guys are so new that you’d lose in the first round.’
“To me, that’s not an answer because 50 percent of the teams lose in the first round. I don’t see them telling those teams they can’t go back. It has nothing to do with that. I think we should get a shot to play. But ultimately it’s up to the guys in Denver.”
Kayla Keltz shot an 80 — nine shots lower than anyone else in the field — to win individually and help Montrose win the Gunnison Invitational on Wednesday at Dos Rios Golf Course.
Montrose shot a 270, with Madison Gil carding a 94 to place sixth for the Indians.
Chelsea Peterson (96) and Justine Johnson (97) also placed in the top 10 for Montrose.
Rifle took second (294) as Taylor Walters placed second, shooting an 89.