LAFAYETTE — Senior captain Chase Brown is the points leader and unquestioned field general on the Dawson School boys lacrosse team.
As he watched Dawson develop into the best team he has played on over the past three years, Brown knew his final season would be the challenge the Mustangs deserve. So far, the 2015 season has been challenging.
That’s how the Mustangs wanted it.
“We just need to build our confidence,” Brown said. “Once we do that, we’ll be a really great team. After we get a couple wins under our belt, we’ll do much better. We’ve been playing tough teams from the start rather than getting a few easy wins first. We’ve been in every situation and when we play well together, it’s unbelievable, so I know we’re definitely going to turn it around.”
Dawson is currently ranked eighth in Class 4A by the CHSAANow.com poll. Though the Dawson boys may not be overly thrilled with their sub-.500 record through the first seven games of the season, in some ways this was exactly the start the Mustangs were looking for.
It would be easy for Dawson to be discouraged by its 3-4 start to what they believed to be a promising 2015 campaign. But the Mustangs coaches intentionally front-loaded the schedule with top competition to push what head coach Peter Devlin also believes to be the most talented team he’s had now in his fifth year.
“We’re grinding right now,” Devlin said. “We’re practicing resilience and we’re trying to stay positive. We’re playing pretty well and we’ve lost a lot of close games. We’re looking to turn the corner and I feel like we’re right there. I built this schedule based on the knowledge of my personnel and we’re going to get there.”
Dawson suffered its first four losses this season by a combined six goals.Three of those went into overtime. Additionally, three of Dawson’s losses have come against top 10 teams in the latest CHSAANow.com poll (No. 3 Cheyenne Mountain, No. 6 Battle Mountain and No. 7 Windsor), the fourth coming against Great Oak (12-7-1) during a trip to California.
Still, with eight games left, including five of its six 4A Foothills League contests, Dawson is ready to start translating tough lessons into wins.
“It’s hard for 16- and 17-year-olds to take those close losses and it’s hard for coaches or anybody else who’s competitive, for that matter,” Devlin said. “But that’s all part of the process. When we can take a step back and realize that we play sports because it’s a metaphor for life and dealing with adversity is something that we have to do, then it becomes and amazing learning opportunity.”
Dawson tasted the 4A state tournament and lost in the first round each of the past two years. With three returning 20-plus goal scorers, a solid defensive front and the addition of left-handed freshman Gavyn Pure (19 goals, 17 assists), the Mustangs know they have a lineup that can compete with any team in the state.
Already established as a playoff team, Dawson has targeted the end of the season to be at its best and that’s what the Mustangs have been working toward through the first month of the season.
“We’re still figuring out who we are and that’s making us stronger,” Devlin said.
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