BOULDER — With a third coach in the past three years, the Boulder boys lacrosse team is desparately looking for consistency under new head man Nick Voigt.
Senior attackman Tim Dolan is also hoping that 2018 spawns a change in culture within the program and that it's his class that ends up playing a major role in a turnaround.
So far, the Panthers are playing with an edge that seemed to be missing early last year, and BHS showed it once again by winning its third straight game on Friday night, 11-7, over an improved Fruita Monument.
Dolan scored three goals and added two assists, Jack Roser added six points and the Panthers out-did the visiting Wildcats with a strong second half to improve to 3-1 on the season. It's the best start for Boulder since the 2015 slate.
"We've done a great job playing together as a team, and I think us and the new coaches are just meshing well so it just feels different," Dolan said after another tight result. "We've been playing these tight games, but we've shown that all our heads are in the right place. It's been awesome."
After falling in the season opener to Colorado Academy by a slim 11-7 score, Boulder has beaten ThunderRidge, Pine Creek and now Fruita each by four goals or fewer. They've all been relatively low-scoring, but Dolan said the teamwork on the defensive side of things has been pretty phenomenal.
On Friday, the Panthers didn't have senior goalie Connor Thornton available, but sophomore Tim Beach kept Boulder in the game with eight big saves.
The Wildcats appeared to take the physical route of play early, and that played to Boulder's favor as the Panthers were able to possess quite a bit to take a 3-1 lead with goals from three different players.
After seeing the Wildcats get some energy and strike for the next three goals over a dry 10-minute span of play, Boulder knotted the game back up at 4-4 when Roser picked up a ground ball off a previous shot and fired it in with just 54 seconds left.
The halftime break was all about keeping composure for Boulder, Dolan said, and the Panthers listened well by outscoring FMHS 4-1 and taking an 8-5 lead.
When Fruita scored twice in a row to make it 8-7 early in the fourth, Boulder countered well. Dolan found Matt Fete for a highlight-reel goal with 7:39 left to make it 9-7, and Griffon Ridings followed up with a 60-foot shot 1:33 later to make it 10-7.
Dolan and Roser connected with each other for three goals in the second half, and their final tally with 2:05 left was the nail in the coffin.
"We've been trying to be more patient, and (Fruita) kind of came out flying and got in our heads a little bit, but I think we did a good job of coming back together and settling down," Dolan said. "It was next-goal (mentality).
"We have boys on both ends of the field that can just get it done, and that's really been the difference for us this year."
Boulder won't play again until April 2 at Castle View but will then host four games between April 4 and April 16, including Dawson School and Monarch.
Boulder 11, Fruita Monument 7
At Recht FieldFruita Monument (1-1)2212—7Boulder (3-1)3143—11
Goals — Boulder: Jack Roser 4, Tim Dolan 3, Matt Fete 2, Drew Sands, Griffon Ridings.
Assists — Boulder: Roser 2, Dolan 2, Sands.
Goalie (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Boulder: Tim Beach (48-7-8).