Strong second half lifts Lightning to easy win

Grand Valley Lightning’s Willie Stevens passes the ball up field during Saturday’s lacrosse game against Eagle Valley at Canyon View Park.

Trying to grip slippery sticks and playing on a rain-soaked field Saturday, the Grand Valley lacrosse team knew patience was going to be important.

The Lightning (6-2) survived the wet conditions and a close first half at Canyon View Park to defeat Eagle Valley 10-4.

“Our first half was sloppy,” Grand Valley coach Dave Zabronsky said. “We had good looks, but didn’t finish shots. Their goalie played well, but we hit posts and had some bad bounces.”

Leading only 3-2 at halftime and frustrated by the low goal output, the Lightning were looking to put together a big quarter to add to their lead.

“The guys knew we should have been up four or five goals at halftime,” Zabronsky said.

“They did a good job of keeping their composure, and I think we had good patience knowing that we were going to get that big lead.”

With less than eight minutes left in the third quarter, midfielder Taylor Watkins got the scoring going on a bounce shot. Watkins fed Willie Stevens on the Lightning’s next goal to extend Grand Valley’s lead to 5-2.

Watkins scored again at the four-minute mark and Jeff Cunningham scored on an assist from Cameron Lang to push the Lightning lead to 7-2 heading into the fourth quarter.

“We did well,” Cunningham said. “The offense played well, and we had opportunities and finished on most of them.”

Cunningham and Watkins led the way for the Lightning, each scoring three goals.

Luke Olsen and Archer Maddox added goals for the Lightning in the fourth quarter.

“It was a better all-around second half for us,” Zabronsky said. “It’s good for our confidence.”

Grand Valley’s win over the Devils capped a weekend where it outscored Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley 18-5.

“These are younger teams, and we expect to beat them,” Zabronsky said. “It’s nice to be able to run your plays and (use your) entire offense and defense against a younger team.”

Ethan Andree and Zach Bailey each scored two goals for Eagle Valley. The Devils got 22 shots on Lightning goalie Cody Von Felt. The Central High School senior ended with 14 saves.

“Our defense and goalie were really clutch today,” Cunningham said. “We also had very (few) penalties, which is always a good thing because being at full strength helps.”

The Lightning plays a makeup game Wednesday at Steamboat Springs. A win against Steamboat would give Grand Valley a split and help determine its postseason fate.

“If we want any shot for any type of playoff consideration, we have to beat Steamboat,” Zabronsky said. “If we don’t win, we don’t have any shot for the playoffs, so it’s a big game.”


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