DENVER—For the first time in Dawson School lacrosse history, the Mustangs had the chance to bring home a 4A title.
But after Valor Christian scored a late goal to secure a 10-9 victory at Sports Authority Field, the Mustangs will have to settle with owning a piece of Dawson history instead.
"It was a great game all around, they're a great team," sophomore attacker Gavyn Pure said. "Obviously we didn't do enough, but we've got to be proud of what we accomplished this season. We made history for Dawson, and honestly we couldn't be prouder."
Throughout the entire game, no team led by more than one goal and the lead changed six times with nine tie scores.
"It was an amazing season and an amazing effort until the very last whistle," Mustangs coach Peter Devlin said. "I'm really, really proud of them today. The ball didn't bounce our way—a few different bounces and it's a different game. I wish there was 30 more seconds in that game, but I'm really proud of my boys and they did a really great job."
For Dawson, Pure and senior goalie Chad Dunnell stole the show. Pure finished with five goals in all as Dunnell, challenged heavily by Valor's strong offense, saved the ball as many times as he gave up a goal.
"(Chad) played very well, and that's what he's done all season," Devlin said. "It's not a surprise that he had a great game like that. I wish he didn't see so many shots, but he had a great game."
Dawson finished the season with a school-best 17-2 overall record, with their only other loss coming against Westview in its third game of the year. Valor Christian finished 15-4.
In the first quarter, Valor struck first, but Dawson wasn't far behind with an answering goal. A minute and a half later, the Mustangs took the first lead of the game and held it throughout the remainder of the quarter.
After three tied scores and just one lead change, both teams were tied up at three goals apiece by the start of the second quarter.
Throughout the second quarter, Valor Christian took control but still couldn't shake the Mustangs. One lead change and two tie scores later, the Eagles held the lead at halftime, 6-5.
Not much changed in the second half, which saw four more lead changes and four more ties. With 5:39 left in the game, Valor senior midfielder Cole Baker tied the game back up from a 9-8 deficit before his teammate, freshman attacker Lance Tillman, netted the go-ahead goal with 2:12 remaining.
The Mustangs had plenty of opportunities to tie the game up for the 10th time, but Eagles goalie Logan Lee held firm with two final saves to win the game.
"You keep your head up," Devlin said. "We won 17 games and we're the runner up in the state, that's pretty good. Of course, it stings right now, but it's not something that they're ever going to forget. You just keep persevering."
Valor Christian 10, Dawson School 9
At Sports Authority FieldValor Christian (15-4) 3 3 2 2 — 10
Dawson School (17-2) 3 2 3 1 — 9
Goals — Valor Christian: Lance Tillman 3, Cole Baker 2, Garrett Ziegler, Dalton Ziegler, Gianni Orlando, Montana McLaughlin, Luke McCaffrey; Dawson School:Gavyn Pure 5, Hunter Watts 2, Jesse Rosenblatt, Wyatt Watts.
Assists — Valor Christian:Gianni Orlando, Luke McCaffrey; Dawson School:Jack Shams 3, Jesse Rosenblatt.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Valor Christian:Logan Lee (48 - 9 - 8); Dawson School: Chad Dunnell (48 - 10 - 10).