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Girls lacrosse: Centaurus’ upset bid falls short vs. Cherry Creek

LAFAYETTE — In case there was any question, supporters of the Cherry Creek girls lacrosse program hung a banner on a fence behind the team’s bench at Centaurus on Tuesday afternoon. It noted that the Bruins have won 10 state titles since 1997, including five in the last six years.

If nothing else, the banner reinforces the point with opponents that it will take a monumental effort to beat Creek.

Centaurus, ranked fourth in the state, hoped this would be its day to slay Goliath for the first time. But though the Warriors played the Bruins closer than they ever have, the result was a 21-18 non-league victory by top-ranked Creek.

“That’s a great team,” said Centaurus senior Emma Lazaroff, who scored nine goals Tuesday to set the program’s single-season goal record with 113. “For us to play them that closely, I’m just proud of everyone on this team.”

The Bruins, who haven’t lost to a Colorado-based team since May 6 of last year, didn’t look like a world-beater early on as Centaurus went up 4-0 and 5-1. The Duke-bound Lazaroff scored three of the first five goals, while sophomore Sarah Brown added two goals and two assists in the first six minutes of the game.

“I think that Creek definitely underestimated us,” said Lazaroff, who was battling gluteus and hip soreness and cramping on Tuesday. “We just came out strong. That’s one thing we’ve been focusing on in practices — take teams by surprise because a lot of them are underestimating us this year.”

But the Bruins (now 13-1) roared back when CHS let off the accelerator. They tied the game at 5, then after falling behind again they scored five straight goals to go ahead for good.

Centaurus (10-4) didn’t have an answer for Anya Gersoff, who will play at Princeton next season. The Creek senior scored nine of her team’s first 16 goals. Junior Tori Link, the first player to commit to the new University of Colorado women’s lacrosse team, added a goal and an assist Tuesday.

“We like to come back and beat a team by five or six goals after they’re up by five or six goals, but it is kind of concerning at the beginning,” Link said. “It gets a little nerve-wracking, but we come back.”

The Bruins, who eliminated Centaurus from the state playoffs in the semifinals last year, had a seemingly comfortable 21-13 lead with about four minutes remaining on Tuesday. But the Warriors threw a little scare into the defending state champs by scoring five unanswered goals in a span of just 2:27.

However, Cherry Creek righted the ship in the final minute and hung on for the victory.

“It’s exciting to play this game as hard and as tough as we did,” CHS coach Genny Horning said. “Creek is a great team — an excellent, highly talented team and well-coached. But I think we surprised them with our fast start.”

Brown complemented Lazaroff’s performance with five goals and three assists Tuesday, while fellow co-captain Carley Dvorak added three goals.

Centaurus, which has suffered its four losses by a combined eight goals, will wrap up the regular season by hosting Golden on Thursday afternoon. But the Warriors have already clinched their second consecutive Jeffco League title and the first-round bye in the state playoffs that goes with it.

 

Cherry Creek 21, Centaurus 18

At Centaurus H.S.

Cherry Creek (13-1) 13 8 — 21

Centaurus (10-4) 10 8 — 18

Goals — Cherry Creek: Gersoff 9, B. Bandt-Law 4, M. Bandt-Law 3, Perry 2, Sisk 2, Link 1; Centaurus: Lazaroff 9, Brown 5, Dvorak 3, Holmes 1.

Assists — Cherry Creek: Gersoff 2, Link 1, M. Bandt-Law 1, Guerra 1, Cromer 1, Perry 1; Centaurus: Brown 3, Holmes 1, Trudel 1.

Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Cherry Creek: Chaney 50-18-6; Centaurus: Weiss 50-21-10.