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Boys lacrosse: Stellar D lands Player of the Year honor for Fairview’s LaVine

Admittedly, Sean LaVine is not a flashy lacrosse player.

The Fairview defenseman acknowledges that he doesn’t throw many checks or make a ton of “wow” plays out on the field. He even concedes that he will often go through games without notice from those in the stands due to his aversion to risk and straightforward approach to defense by simply positioning himself correctly at all times.

But for those familiar with the sport, there is no doubt that the Knight is a standout player. And upon the completion of his senior season, he now has the accolades to prove it.

A four-time first team all-conference selection, the 2014 boys lacrosse Player of the Year also earned first team all-state honors this year and played in the Class 5A All-State game.

Yet all those awards ultimately pale in comparison to the All-American recognition LaVine earned in his final prep campaign. Being listed among the nation’s elite was his objective coming into the season, and his inclusion in the prestigious club served as the ultimate validation of the work he has put in over the course of his career.

“I had that goal coming into this season, I had set it for myself,” LaVine said. “It just means a lot to know that all the hard work paid off. When I was training in the preseason I always had being an All-American on my mind. I had friends who, when workouts were getting tough they kept saying ‘All-American, this is for All-American,’ so it just kept me working through the preseason and then it also kind of played out through the season.”

While many offensive-minded players in the area put up gaudy numbers, a defensive player such as LaVine has an impact on the game that can be more difficult to quantify, which is likely the reason his skills may occasionally overlooked by the casual observer. However, FHS coach Michael Flood knew he had something special on his hands from the moment LaVine put on the Knights’ red, black and white, starting the freshman in the first scrimmage he ever suited up for.

LaVine has only continued to grow and develop since then, evolving into what many coaches consider to be the best player at his position in the state. Flood claims his player has the best footwork the coach has ever seen in the high school game, and was comfortable sending LaVine out to cover the opposing team’s best player every night. Generally, the defenseman neutralized that player “without fail.”

His ability to shut down any attacker he was assigned to may have best been exemplified in this season’s game against Monarch. Playing against a Coyotes team which was ranked No. 8 in‘s state poll at the time, LaVine was asked to keep tabs on Chad Kreuzer. The MoHi sophomore found little room to breathe against LaVine and was held scoreless in the 9-4 Fairview victory, the Knights’ first win over Monarch in Flood’s nine-year tenure.

For Kreuzer, who went on to lead the Front Range League with 47 goals, it would be the only game all season he was kept out of the back of the net.

“Coach kind of put me on (Kreuzer), and we knew he was there guy, he’s a fantastic player,” LaVine said. “It all just kind of worked out for us. He didn’t get many shots, and when he did get shots our goalie Ben Boggs stopped them. It was really a team effort to hold him to zero goals.

“That was one of the sweetest wins I have ever experienced. It’s always been Monarch is the big dog in town, so it was just nice to finally beat them for bragging rights. Especially being friends with some of the Monarch guys, it was just nice to finally beat them for once and they can’t really talk.”

LaVine will now take his game to Colorado Springs, where he’ll play for Air Force. The Falcons are coming off their best season in over 25 years, finishing 11-6 and bowing out in the first round of the NCAA tournament to eventual champion Duke in their first appearance in the field since 1988. And the addition of a player of LaVine’s caliber can only serve to aid an Air Force squad that will look to take on other All-American talent on a more regular basis.

“I leave in three weeks for basic training, just learning the military ways,” LaVine said. “That’s about six weeks and then after that school starts and I’ll get into lacrosse. I’m really looking forward to getting down there and playing with some of those guys and against some of the best teams in the country.”

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