Mesa men hang on in season finale

Steve Brandenburg of Colorado Mesa, right, tries to gain control of the ball Saturday against John Beedle during the Mavericks’ 10-9 victory.

Colorado Mesa University men’s lacrosse coach A.J. Stevens admitted that perhaps his team launched into stall mode a bit too early.

Two Adams State goals — the first by Seth Stowell and the second by Kevin Bertrand — in the span of 15 seconds had cut the Mavericks’ lead to 10-9.

Suddenly, with 18.5 seconds left in the game, Mesa had to play some defense. Johnny Nitti answered the call.

Moments after the Grizzlies won a faceoff and began to charge upfield in search of the equalizer, Nitti snatched a long pass out of the air and took off the other way.

Game over.

“He’s a fantastic player,” said Stevens, whose Mavericks wrapped their season with Saturday’s 10-9 win. “Guys like him should be making plays like that.”

Up 10-6 after five consecutive goals — four resulting from man-up situations — it probably shouldn’t have come down to Nitti’s defensive play.

“We were kind of trying to stall at that point,” Stevens said. “You don’t always know if you’re doing it too soon. I think maybe we did it too soon.”

Still, the Mavericks displayed resilience in a chippy, penalty-packed game at Walker Field.

Late in the third quarter, CMU attacker Steve Brandenburg was leveled by the Grizzlies’ Chris Cunningham, resulting in a three-minute, unreleasable cross-check penalty. Brandenburg had to be helped off the field and, Stevens said, sustained a concussion.

Down 6-5 at the time, the Mavs proceeded to sway the momentum in their favor.

Kade Robinson and Griffin Perkiel delivered goals by quarter’s end, and Michael Beimford put Mesa ahead 8-6 with a goal early in the fourth.

Adams State’s John Beedle put his team at a disadvantage once again with a jarring hit on CMU’s Stuart Foster early in the fourth. Another three-minute, unreleasable penalty opened the door for two more man-up goals, the first by Robinson and the second by Mitch Flaherty.

Robinson scored three goals for CMU (7-6, 4-2 Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association).

“Going into this season, we had high hopes,” said Beimford, who had four goals. “Coming out 6-6 at the end, we really wanted to finish above .500. Toward the end of the season, we really came together, and things started clicking.”

Women’s Lacrosse

Allie Henderson scored four goals, Ashley Eickhoff three and Kelsey Krebs two as Colorado Mesa cruised to a 16-10 win at Adams State.

The Mavericks (4-10, 4-6 WILA) led 8-5 at halftime and got a team-high four assists from Keri Kopchik.

Track & Field

CMU’s Alexis Skarda won the women’s 5,000 meters by more than two minutes in the Colorado Mines Pre-Conference meet.

Skarda clocked a time of 18 minutes, 35.23 seconds — the next-fastest runner came in 2 minutes, 3.5 seconds after her.

The Mavericks’ Chelsea Lyons won the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase (12:08.53), and the 400 relay team won in 47.77 seconds.

Shantanique Bridgewater (13.02) and Taylor Allmon (13.22) finished second and third, respectively, in the 100 meters.

Augustus Barnes was second in the men’s 400 meters (48.67).


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