Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
Fairview senior Jack Cromwell says he plays with a chip on his shoulder, and works to take nothing for granted after he lost his first two high school lacrosse seasons — one to injury, one to the pandemic. His coach, meanwhile, labels his star player as stubborn, and does so in the most positive sense.
In an 8-5 loss to Ralston Valley Friday night, Cromwell took punishment time and time again, only to pop right back. A master in perseverance, now his team must do the same.
“That mentality will help,” coach Matt Kelly said. “A lot of what we are working on as a team is working on mindset and getting to that winning mindset. That belief in what we’re capable of, and this team is capable of a lot.”
Cromwell was fearless in both his opening-quarter goals, scoring while taking heavy hits in front of the net. As the checks kept coming — one directly to the kneecap, he said — he played through noticeable pain for much of the second half as the Knights fell to their fourth straight ranked team.
“I like scoring, and part of scoring, you have to take a little bit of pain,” said the 5-foot-9 attacker, holding a pack of ice afterward. “Nothing comes without a price.”
The Knights (2-4, 0-1 Class 5A League 2) also got goals from Spencer Grumhaus, Drew Stinchcomb and Brooks Flynn, but were held scoreless in the second and fourth quarters. The 5A No. 8 Mustangs (5-2, 1-1) got three goals from Nicholas Gates and two from Keenan Knop and Gunner Schoepflin.
The defeat follows losses to 5A No. 1 Mountain Vista, No. 5 Arapahoe and No. 9 Rock Canyon to open the season.
“We have the talent, we have the capability,” Cromwell said, “we just need to set it into action.”
Cromwell led the early charge with two goals in the first quarter. Bouncing off traffic in front of the net 2 minutes, 3 seconds into the game, he had enough balance to release a shot from the edge of the right post and up and over Ralston Valley goalie Noah Perea’s right shoulder.
Equilibrium went wayward on his second. As he was falling to the ground, he put Fairview up 3-2 when he ripped a low chance into the left side of the net with 12 seconds left in the frame.
The Knights wouldn’t lead again.
Stinchcomb ended a scoreless drought of 14:55 with an equalizing goal in the third. Flynn followed successive goals from the Mustangs with one in front of the net to cut the lead to 6-5. But the offense went scoreless over the final 14:30.
“There were probably some adjustments that they made and we had some adjustments to their adjustments,” Kelly said. “It’s something we need to practice better.”
Fairview will begin next week with a back-to-back, visiting Chatfield Monday before hosting Mountain Range Tuesday. The game against Mountain Range was rescheduled from Wednesday when the school canceled after-school activities due to the threat of the North Shanahan Ridge Fire, which burned nearby.