LAFAYETTE — Since shortly after last season's Class 4A state championship game ended, the Dawson School boys lacrosse team has remained fixated on one collective goal.
To return to Sports Authority Field at Mile High in 2017 and win the state title that eluded them by just one goal has been the Mustangs' sole focus.
Their determination to achieve that goal has shown in the way the Mustangs have attacked the 2017 season and that aggression continued through Wednesday's semifinal game against No. 5 Conifer. With a dominant 17-4 win on their home field at Dawson, the Mustangs advanced to the championship game and have only one step remaining to accomplish the loftiest of goals.
"That's definitely been our goal and we're doing everything we can to get back there," Mustangs junior Gavyn Pure said. "Our whole team has been looking forward to it and now that we're finally back there, we're ready to battle 130-percent for it."
The Mustangs (17-1), who have reached at least the semifinals in three straight seasons, came out with a fury on Wednesday. They scored two goals in the first five minutes and three more in the final 2:35 of the first quarter to lead 5-0 going into the second. Holding the Lobos (14-4) off the scoreboard until three minutes were left in the half, the Mustangs held a 9-1 lead at halftime.
Not slowing down, the Mustangs scored six more goals in the third quarter and continued to play strong defense in front of freshman goalkeeper Dawson Santangelo until the final buzzer. Santangelo finished with 10 saves.
"Our motto all season long has been unfinished business," Santangelo said. "Especially us younger guys, we just really want this one for the seniors and juniors, even the sophomores, who went through what they did last year. We're peaking at the right time and it feels really good."
Pure, who is now third in the state with 104 points (61 goals, 43 assists), led the Mustangs with five goals and two assists. The Mustangs defense held Lobos senior Chase Phelps, who is fourth in the state with 102 points (49 goals, 53 assists), to just one assist, and Mustangs senior Mason Meyer, who is fifth with 97 points (46 goals, 53 assists), to just a goal and two assists.
But even as well as they played in Wednesday's game, the one the Mustangs really want is the next one. They're also excited about who their opponent will be.
While the two teams have appeared to be on a collision course all season long, Dawson will now officially face Valor Christian (14-4) in the state championship game on Friday.
The Mustangs outscored their first three state tournament opponents by a combined 53-11 score. The Valor Christian Eagles, who defeated the Mustangs 10-9 in last year's championship game, have outscored their three opponents 48-18.
"They're very excited," Mustangs head coach Peter Devlin said. "We've built up quite a rivalry here. I just told them we've been waiting 363 days to get back to this game, so they're super excited."
Dawson has already defeated Valor Christian once this season, 11-10 on March 15.
Dawson 17, Conifer 4
At Dawson SchoolConifer 0121—4Dawson 5561—17
Goals — Conifer: Williams, Miller, Hollander, Meyer; Dawson: Pure 5, Kamigaki 3, Shams 3, Watts 3, Keener, Walker, Zee.
Assists — Conifer: Meyer 2, Phelps; Dawson: Watts 5, Pure 2, Walker, Zee.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Conifer: Lindsay (48-17-10); Dawson: Santangelo (48-4-10).