LAFAYETTE — The Dawson School boys lacrosse team came within a couple goals of a Class 4A state championship last season, so the Mustangs are understandably eager to see what this season may hold in terms of a potential return to the title game.
In the team's season opener on Thursday, the Mustangs demonstrated just how excited they are to attack the 2017 campaign with a 17-2 home win over local rival Boulder. For a team that returns over 70 percent of its roster from last year's title-contending squad, winning the first game was hopefully a sign that the Mustangs won't just be able to repeat what they did in 2016.
This year, they're hoping to win the whole thing.
"I was happy with the effort level, for sure," Mustangs head coach Peter Devlin said. "We were pretty sharp. We moved the ball well and the defense as very aggressive. We've got a lot of returning guys back so it felt good to get them back on the field. We have a lot of young guys stepping up and we're working on coming together as a team. It's a slow, building process and today was a good start."
The Mustangs started strong on Thursday, winning the first quarter by a 4-0 margin. They added six more goals in the second quarter and three insurance scores in the third before outscoring the Panthers 4-0 in the fourth.
While senior Kyle Sudol dominated the faceoff game throughout the contest, returning standout Gavyn Pure paced the Mustangs' attack with three goals and four assists. Mustangs sophomore Taylor Kamigaki led the offense with four goals and goalkeeper Dawson Santangelo made five saves. In total, eight Mustangs players scored, which left Devlin feeling optimistic about the team's potential in the coming months.
"We're taking it one practice at a time," Devlin said. "These early games are difficult because there's just not enough time to do all the things you want to do. We're just looking forward to practice tomorrow and getting better. You always feel a little vulnerable in the first game of the season and we just wanted to go out and play as hard as we could. The coaching staff was really happy with their effort."
For Boulder, a team that won eight games last season, Thursday's season-opening loss was a tough pill to swallow. But the opportunity to measure up against a state runner-up squad was also a valuable learning experience for a club that is battling the injury bug early on in 2017.
"Today was obviously a rough start for us," Panthers head coach Eric Dance said. "But the guys responded well to some adversity and I'm proud of our play. There are a few things we need to tweak on our end. The kids battled and we had a lot of kids who don't normally get a lot of playing time step up to the moment."
The Mustangs will play Valor Christian, the team that edged them by one goal in last season's state championship game, on Wednesday. The Panthers will be back in action at Colorado Academy on Saturday.
Dawson School 17, Boulder 2
At Dawson SchoolBoulder (0-1) 0 1 1 0 — 2
Dawson (1-0) 4 6 3 4 — 17
Goals — Boulder: Dolan, Fete; Dawson: Kamigaki 4, Shams 3, Pure 3, Brown 2, Walker 2, Cramer, Zee, Sudol.
Assists — Dawson: Pure 4, Brown 2, Sudol 2, Kamigaki, Shams, Walker.