DENVER — Sarah Myres sat in the postgame huddle with two cotton plugs stemming the bleeding from her nose. Her face was bruised, a last memento from a hard-fought season and prep career for the Centaurus senior.
Myres’ look summed up the day and the year for the Warriors girls lacrosse team. They took their lumps, overcame injuries, heartbreak and inexperience to reach the state semifinals for a fifth straight year.
They couldn’t overcome Colorado Academy.
Despite five goals from Myres the Warriors fell to the Mustangs, 14-5 on Saturday, ending their season a game short of their ultimate goal.
“This team has come through a lot,” assistant coach Olivia Leyschock said. “I could not be more proud of these girls and this program and this team. It says a lot we came here and we had those freshmen step up in place of the other girls that were injured.”
Centaurus made maybe its most improbable run to the state semifinals despite the injuries and the tragedy of losing assistant coach Tepper Koga, who died of heart attack in February.
Instead of derailing the season the players used it as a rallying point.
“If he was here right now he would be proud we made it this far,” Myres said.
The Warriors also played without head coach Bob Kline, who was away to attend his daughter’s graduation from the University of Miami (Ohio).
The start of the match was delayed more than two hours due to lightning that hovered in the area. Both teams went to their respective locker rooms and waited out the dry storm.
When things finally started Myres got Centaurus going with a goal just 57 seconds in. The senior took a shot to the face as she scored but she didn’t miss a second of game time.
“It was gushing blood all game,” Myres said.
It was a short-lived lead, however. Colorado Academy sophomore Sydney Prokupek and senior Henley Hall scored two goals each as the Mustangs went up 5-2.
It was 5-3 after Myres scored again with 9:33 left in the first half, but Colorado Academy scored nine of the next 10 goals to take a 14-4 lead with 12:25 left in the game.
“When there were 10 minutes left and they were up by 10 goals and it didn’t seem like we were going to come back I just tried to enjoy the last 10 minutes of playing high school,” Myres said.
The Mustangs’ sophomore goalie, Bridget Sutter, did as much to keep the Warriors from staying close. She made three big saves in the first half that helped Colorado Academy build a 7-3 halftime lead.
“We have a really young team and a lot of them haven’t been in this situation before,” Myres said. “It’s really nerve-racking. To have half the team never have been in a big game like this, it was just hard.”
The Warriors have just 10 upperclassmen on their roster, so the freshmen and sophomores gained valuable experience. It bodes well for the future.
“We want them to carry this with them, this experience,” Leyschock said. “This will be drive for next year. A lot of the older girls remember semifinal games that they lost here and it drove them to get back here. That’s the goal, to always come back here.”
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Colorado Academy 14, Centaurus 5
Girls lacrosse state semifinal
At All-City Stadium
Centaurus 3 2 — 5
Goals — Centaurus: Sarah Myres 5; Colorado Academy: Prokupek 3, Hall 3, E. Richards 2, Russell, Wright, Melberg, Lin, Miller, Webster.
Assists — Centaurus: Little; Colorado Academy: Webster 3, Prokupek 2, Wright 2, Hall.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Centaurus: Pittsner (50-14-9); Colorado Academy: Sutter (50-4-9).