LAFAYETTE — It took less than 1 minute of action for the Centaurus girls lacrosse team to learn that success may not come quite as easily in 2013.
Once the full 50 minutes were done, however, the Warriors also discovered that sporting a new look does not necessarily mean the club will experience a drop-off from its status among the state’s elite.
The new-look Warriors started slowly but recovered in a hurry on Tuesday, posting an 18-7 win against Heritage-Littleton in both teams’ season opener.
“The second half was for sure better than the first,” said Centaurus coach Genny Horning, whose club has reached the state semifinals in each of the past two seasons. “We’ve been a little bit hampered by not really being able to practice these past two weeks because of the snow, and we haven’t had much full-field work. It was a little bit of a rough start, a rough first game, but then we kind of shifted into our groove.”
In addition to losing all-everything attacker Emma Lazaroff, who set a national high school record with 143 goals last year before taking her game to Duke, Centaurus also bid farewell to Carley Dvorak, who combined with Lazaroff to produce about 61 percent of the Warriors’ goals in 2012.
Although Centaurus does return junior Sarah Brown, who accounted for the majority of the remaining 39 percent of the Warriors’ goals last year, Tuesday’s contest marked Brown’s first game since she suffered a stress fracture in her back last summer. While Brown admitted her conditioning remains a work in progress, she nonetheless paced Centaurus’ attack with five goals and one assist.
“I’m excited because we have a lot of new, good players,” Brown said. “We lost Emma, but people shouldn’t underestimate our team. We’re still really fast and we’re still going to be really good. The beginning today was a little slow. We can’t ever let the first couple minutes let you down.”
Indeed it was a rough start for Centaurus as the Warriors surrendered a goal just 35 seconds into the contest. Moments later promising freshman Andrea Kim went down with an ankle injury that kept her sidelined the rest of the contest, and then Centaurus promptly fell into a 2-0 hole.
Yet after rallying back into a 3-3 tie, the Warriors took off. Centaurus outscored Heritage 9-1 during the remainder of the first half to take a 12-4 lead into the break. The Warriors put the game away early in the second, scoring four consecutive goals in the first 8 minutes of the frame.
Sophomore Sarah Myres, who scored just six goals last season, showed she may be ready to fill some of the scoring void left by Lazaroff and Dvorak by recording four goals. Junior Olivia Holmes also scored four goals as eight different Warriors players recorded either a goal or an assist.
“At first I think we were just really nervous,” Myres said. “We have a bunch of new players and new freshmen on the team, but after the first half we realized the jitters were out, and the bad parts of our game were out, and we realized we could focus on the good parts of our game. I think you’re going to see a lot of goals from everyone this year and a lot of teamwork.”
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Centaurus 18, Heritage 7
At Centaurus H.S.
Heritage (0-1) 4 3 — 7
Centaurus (1-0) 12 6 — 18
Goals — Heritage: Zuppa 5, Johnson, Ford. Centaurus: S. Brown 5, Myres 4, Holmes 4, McGiboney 2, A. Brown 2, Burns.
Assists — Centaurus: S. Brown, A. Brown, Burns, Coleman, Hannigan, McGiboney.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Heritage: Toomey (50-18-9); Centaurus: Weiss (50-7-4).