Frustration for Fruita

Penalties, lack of cohesion hurt 'Cats in loss to Aspen

Fruita Monument’s Zac Twardowski looks to shoot Thursday during the Wildcats’ 14-4 loss to Aspen. Twardowski scored two goals in the loss.

There were few moments the Fruita Monument boys lacrosse team weren’t one or two men down Thursday. A steady stream of penalties, 18 in all, cost the Wildcats in a 14-4 loss to Aspen, the No. 2-ranked team in Class 4A, at Fruita Monument High School.

One by one, sticks hit the grass, gloves pounded the turf, and helmets were thrown as frustration grew.

It would be easy to blame the loss on the referees or just an off game, but according to Fruita Monument coach Mark Young, the penalty problems against Aspen stemmed from a lack of team play.

Young said he was disappointed to see his team down a man or two almost the whole game, but the Wildcats needed to adjust to the way the game was being called, “and that’s the way it is.”

The Wildcats, who finished third in the Mountain Lacrosse League last season, have not gotten above .500 yet this season. Although penalties have hurt Fruita over the past two seasons, Young said the problem has been magnified this season because of his team’s top-shelf potential. 

“I still think we have a fantastic team,” Young said. “This team is probably the most talented group of kids I’ve coached, but we need to start getting used to the concept of playing as a team.

“If we can just grasp that concept, I think you’ll see us turn around. It hurts to watch the kids not play to their potential because we just haven’t jelled. We have so much talent on this team.

“You look at the book and see so many guys scoring goals. We still have this mentality of taking it by ourselves and trying to score. It doesn’t work that way. It’s never worked that way. You can’t run through three guys.”

Aspen is the first of four consecutive quality opponents for the Wildcats, and although losing to the Skiers was disappointing, Young said he is confident his team can right the ship.

Seven players have at least four goals for Fruita, and Young said he hopes the balanced offense will create synergy with the Wildcats.

In his fourth appearance of the season, Aiden Woomer has amassed an impressive point total. The senior attacker, who led the Wildcats in goals last year, has scored seven goals despite playing in only three full games. Against Aspen, Woomer and Zac Twardowski led the Wildcats with two goals apiece.

Fruita hosts Thompson Valley today at Fruita Monument High School at 4 p.m.

NOTE: Near halftime, Aspen midfielder Beau Cameron broke his lower left leg in a way similar to Louisville point guard Kevin Ware did Sunday.

During a scramble near the western sideline, two Aspen players and a Fruita player became tangled, and each tumbled out of bounds. Two of the three players got up, but Cameron remained on the sideline with his left foot askew and under heavy care from trainers until an ambulance arrived to take him to St. Mary’s Hospital.

Aspen coach Mike Goerne said Cameron broke his tibia and fibula and dislocated his ankle.


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