LAFAYETTE — Through its first four games, the Dawson School boys lacrosse team looked like a well-oiled, goal-scoring machine.
After a bountiful spring break trip to California, however, the well appeared to have dried up early in Wednesday’s home game against undefeated Conifer. But as the temperature fell into the evening, the Mustangs heated up in order win their Foothills League opener 12-10.
The Mustangs just had to grind it out.
“It was a whole team effort today. Nobody stood out and nobody played a bad game,” Mustangs senior goalie Sam Martin said. “We came out a little rusty on offense and defense but we really picked it up in that second half. Today’s game needed a huge change in our state of mind after scoring so many goals on our spring break trip in California.”
The Mustangs, ranked 10th in the latest CHSAANow.com poll, entered Wednesday’s game having averaged 16 goals per game through their first four. They were also fresh off two wins in California, during which they scored 40 goals and allowed just one.
Immediately after the opening horn sounded, things looked bleak for the Mustangs (4-1, 1-0).
The visiting Lobos (4-1, 0-1), ranked eighth in 4A, jumped on the Mustangs early, scoring twice in the first 20 seconds. Conifer found the net with three of its first four shots to lead 3-0 but the Mustangs fought back to tie the game 3-3 at halftime.
“We’re one of those teams that really likes to hold on so we didn’t give up,” junior midfielder Zach Rinard said. “We ended up coming back and we really gained some momentum in the third quarter. We just started finishing. Obviously, in California we had a great dynamic going. We just had to get that back.”
Rinard said having Mustangs freshman Kyle Sudol regularly winning face-offs gave Dawson a huge boost after halftime. He also said the Mustangs were eager to deal Conifer its first loss on the season.
In the second half the Lobos defense opened up and the Mustangs took advantage, scoring five third-quarter goals to take an 8-5 lead into the fourth. Scoring three times in the first minute of the fourth quarter, Dawson built a big enough lead to hold off a late surge from the Lobos.
“They’re capable of scoring a lot of goals and lacrosse is a game of momentum,” Mustangs head coach Peter Devlin said. “The important thing is that they fought back and that stretch in the third and fourth quarter, that’s who I believe we are. This is a league win and Conifer was undefeated. Showing the grit to come back from being down is such an important thing for a team and I’m really proud of the kids for doing that.”
Leading the Mustangs with 16 goals this season, senior Eli Negrelli scored three against Conifer. Chase Brown and Jesse Rosenblatt each scored twice. Tyler Phillips, Wyatt Watts, Alex Aleu, Kyle Gholson and Sudol each scored a goal.
Martin played the entire game in goal and finished with 11 saves.
Devlin said the Mustangs were missing a handful of St. Vrain School District crossover players from Niwot High School, who were on spring break this week instead of last.
The Mustangs will look to continue their winning streak against nearby Fairview (4-3) at home on Friday.
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Dawson School 12, Conifer 10
At Dawson School
Conifer 3 0 3 4 — 10
Dawson School 2 1 5 4 — 12
Goals — Conifer: Myers 4, Henderson 3, Williams 2, Miller; Dawson School: Negrelli 3, Rosenblatt 2, Brown 2, Phillips, Watts, Sudol, Aleu, Gholson.
Assists — Conifer: Myers 2, Henderson 2, Gevedon; Dawson School: Renard.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Conifer: Will Dale (80-12-11); Dawson School: Sam Martin (80-10-11).