Lightning blanked by ’Cats

DENVER — For the Grand Valley girls lacrosse team, the state tournament was all about the experience.

The Lightning played St. Mary’s Academy in the first round of the playoffs Friday in Englewood, and although Grand Valley lost 14-0, it was an informative trip for the team.

“It wasn’t about having to win,” Grand Valley coach Robin Stevens said. “We didn’t want to focus on that, we just wanted to come out and have a good time.”

It had been nearly two weeks since the Lightning’s last game, and combined with the experience of St. Mary’s Academy, Grand Valley fell behind early.

The Wildcats scored four quick goals, including Jessica Graebel’s tally in the first 29 seconds. Graebel scored again before the end of the half.

“St Mary’s Academy was incredible,” Stevens said. “It was fun to watch them. We know what we have to work on.”

The Wildcats executed their offense flawlessly, holding the ball for a few steps before passing it off to a teammate. St. Mary’s Academy translated its strong offensive performance into a 10-0 halftime lead.

“It was really good for us, even though we got beat,” Grand Valley senior Bri True said.

“Our first year, the fact we made it to state is impressive.”

Grand Valley had a better second half, controlling the ball and holding off the Wildcat’s attacks. The Lightning was able to get off three of their four shots in the second half.

“We came together as a team in the second half,” True said. “I thought everyone did amazing.”

Grand Valley finished its inaugural season 11-1 and can use the playoff trip as a building block for next season.

Stevens said she enjoyed the entire experience of being able to play in the state playoffs.

“We just really wanted to enjoy the experience over here,” Stevens said. “We got up early and had a great bus trip over, and I think everyone had a great time.”

True added that although the Lightning didn’t like losing for the first time all season, they were able to take away a lot from a more seasoned St. Mary’s Academy team.

“It was motivating for us,” True said. “A lot of girls are now motivated to get to the level that St. Mary’s Academy was at.”


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