Emotion marked the faces of many of the Chaparral players as they left the field after losing the first-round state girls lacrosse playoff game to defending state champion Cherry Creek 24-10.
The loss ended the season for the Wolverines and there were tears and girls hugging each other as they gathered after the game.
When they were seated in a circle, coach Dix Baines told his players and assistant coaches he couldn't be prouder of them for the way they played against Cherry Creek and the way they played all season.
“Every player on this team did her best out there today,” he said. “We stayed close early and, when Cherry Creek began to pull away, you girls kept battling hard and the score didn't seem to matter. You just kept playing hard defense and trying to put the ball in the net. That proved you are all true competitors.”
The state girls lacrosse bracket was made up of 20 teams. The four teams seeded 16 to 20 played first-round games while the remainder of the field, including Chaparral, which was seeded 12, drew byes.
The second-round games were played May 9 and Chaparral faced fifth-seeded Cherry Creek.
Action exploded from the draw to start the game. Cherry Creek scored 25 seconds into the game and the Wolverines answered just over a minute later on a goal by Lexi Davis.
The teams traded goals for the first four minutes of the game. The Bruins' potent attack shifted into high gear, breaking the 3-3 tie with a trio of goals.
Late in the first half with Cherry Creek leading, Wolverine sophomore Bridget Larkin scored a pair of goals to temporary close the gap.
But Cherry Creek responded with four more goals and led 12-6 at halftime.
The Bruins continued the aggressive attack in the second half with five unanswered goals to stretch the lead to 16-6. The Wolverines then got two goals by Davis and one by senior Cera Cyester to make the score 16-9.
Cherry Creek then outscored Chaparral the rest of the way to win the game, 24-10.
“This was one of the most rewarding years I have had as a coach despite the fact the season ended today,” Baines said after the game. “We got off to a rough start this season as we had a very challenging schedule and were 2-6 after eight games. The girls pulled everything together and we won five of our last seven games to finish the season 7-8.”
He said nine seniors will graduate in June and it will be hard to replace the team leaders, but there are good freshman classes coming the next two years.
“We have a strong feeder program with players coming from the Parker Hawks,” the coach said. “These next two freshman classes may be the best freshman classes we have had in the 10 years Chaparral has played lacrosse.”