LAKEWOOD — It’s going to be an eight-step process, but Lakewood’s boys lacrosse team cleared that first hurdle April 6 toward the goal of winning a league title.
The Tigers (6-3, 1-1 in league) won its Class 5A League #2 opener at Trailblazer Stadium with a 10-7 victory over Dakota Ridge.
“It feels good,” Lakewood coach Darin Denton said after the Tigers’ fourth straight victory. “I told the boys one game at a time, but I don’t think you are going to win this league unless you win them all.”
Winning the conference title won’t be an easy task. Seven of the nine teams in the league began conference play with above .500 records.
Lakewood got off to a solid start with a 3-0 lead on perviously undefeated Dakota Ridge (5-1, 1-1). Sawyer Cullen, SeanPatrick O’Reilly and Lane Lessley got the scoring going early in the first quarter.
The Eagles got some momentum with a late goal by senior Cade Oldershaw to close the first quarter. Oldershaw and junior Cam Seymour each scored in the second quarter for Dakota Ridge, but Lakewood maintained a 5-3 advantage going into halftime.
“It was sloppy,” Denton admitted. “It’s kind of windy and there are a lot of things to clean up, but they brought the energy when they needed to bring the energy. I’m proud of them.”
Dakota Ridge sophomore Sam Lyall cut it to a 5-4 lead early in the third quarter, but then the Tigers went on a 3-0 run to gain some separation. Lessley, junior Luke Brunner and senior Jace Wright scored during the nice stretch for the Tigers.
“We had to know what we were running before everything. We couldn’t hear out on the field with the wind,” Lessley said. “We all had to be on the same page and I think as the game went along we got better at that.”
Lyall and junior Noah Triplett scored for Dakota Ridge to end the third and start the fourth-period scoring to cut the lead to 9-7. However, Lessley put in his fourth goal of the game with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter to make the score 10-7.
“We just knew we had to buckle down,” Lessley said when Dakota Ridge cut the Tigers’ lead to a 2-goal margin. “We knew if we got a couple of more goals we would probably win the game.”
Brunner had three goals on the day to extend his team-leading 24 goals on the season. Lessley had found the back of the net 19 times.
“Lane had a big goal. He has been a leader and a captain for us this whole season so far,” Denton said. “He’s been awesome.”
Lakewood junior goalie Garrett Simmering got the victory in net. Denton did give a lot of credit to Dakota Ridge junior goalie Logan Dobrowski for his play.
“Hats off to (Dakota Ridge) goalie. He stopped a lot of goals today that I think could have broke the game wide-open,” Denton said of Dobrowski. “He stood in the pipes well. Hats off to their whole team. They never gave up either.”
It was the first loss of the season for Dakota Ridge. The Eagles bounced back in a big way with a 9-8 victory over rival Columbine on April 8 to grab Dakota Ridge’s first conference win.
Lakewood got a big test against Poudre School District (6-0, 2-0) on April 8 at Trailblazer Stadium. The Fort Collins-based team coached by Lakewood High School graduate Will Cantwell took a 9-7 victory over the Tigers.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.