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Boys lacrosse: Colorado Academy knocks down Erie

Class 4A Tigers get a test from top-tier 5A program

  • ERIE-CO- April 22: Erie Tigers' Corby ...

    Erie Tigers' Corby Tecu, left, gets checked by Colorado Academy Mustangs' Grant Nelligan, in Erie on April 23, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Erie Tigers' goalkeeper, Colin Selters, prepares ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Erie Tigers' goalkeeper, Colin Selters, prepares for a shot by the Colorado Academy Mustangs in Erie on April 23, 2022.

  • Erie Tigers' Charlie Obrien (12) looks ...

    Erie Tigers' Charlie Obrien (12) looks for a shot on Colorado Academy Mustangs' Rowan Brown, in Erie on April 23, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)

  • ERIE-CO- April 22: Erie Tigers' Corby ...

    Erie Tigers' Corby Tecu, left, gets checked by Colorado Academy Mustangs' Grant Nelligan, in Erie on April 23, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • ERIE-CO- April 22: Erie Tigers' Charlie ...

    Erie Tigers' Charlie O'Brien, right, spins on Colorado Academy Mustangs' Brooks Rhine, in Erie on April 23, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • ERIE-CO- April 22: Erie Tigers' Breckin ...

    Erie Tigers' Breckin DenHartog, left, and Colorado Academy Mustangs' Charlie Beasley, battle for the ball in Erie on April 23, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • ERIE-CO- April 22: Erie Tigers' (7) ...

    Erie Tigers' (7) Davis Mundy celebrates a goal against the Colorado Academy Mustangs in Erie on April 23, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • ERIE-CO- April 22: Erie Tigers' Ryan ...

    Erie Tigers' Ryan Burns, right, runs past Colorado Academy Mustangs' Toren Knepper, in Erie on April 23, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Erie Tigers' Corby Tecu (33) after ...

    Erie Tigers' Corby Tecu (33) after scoring on the Colorado Academy Mustangs in Erie on April 23, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)

  • ERIE-CO- April 22: Erie Tigers' Breckin ...

    Erie Tigers' Breckin DenHartog, right, stretches out to contain Colorado Academy Mustangs' Luke Donaldson-Reid, in Erie on April 23, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Erie Tigers' head coach, Nick Mandia, ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Erie Tigers' head coach, Nick Mandia, in the Colorado Academy Mustang game in Erie on April 23, 2022.

  • ERIE-CO- April 22: Erie Tigers' Corby ...

    Erie Tigers' Corby Tecu shots on Colorado Academy Mustangs' Rowan Brown, in Erie on April 23, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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ERIE — Erie boys lacrosse knew its season wouldn’t be easy but, for the most part, Class 4A’s third-ranked Tigers have been able to battle well through an incredibly tough slate. On Saturday on their home field, they felt the brunt of that schedule’s full strength when Class 5A’s No. 5 Colorado Academy defeated them with a 9-5 final.

The Tigers couldn’t match the intensity that the Mustangs brought to the field in the second half after leading them 4-3 through the first two quarters.

“I think for us, we’re learning every single week about ourselves and how to get better every week,” senior midfielder Corby Tecu said. “Right now, we’re still figuring out how to play a full game. I think four weeks ago, we’d start giving up to that team halfway through the first quarter. It just happened to be third quarter this week. I think we’re on the right trajectory.”

Tecu and sophomore attacker Charlie O’Brien led the Tigers with two goals apiece as sophomore attacker Davis Mundy added another score. In goal, junior Colin Selters put together an incredible performance as he made 17 saves.

The matchup boiled down to defense on both sides of the field, but the Mustang defense was just a bit more stifling. While the 8-2 Tigers have seen their fair share of tough opponents this season, they hadn’t faced anyone quite as aggressive as Colorado Academy.

Still, Erie held its own pretty well.

“It’s hard to play with such a low-oxygen brain when we’re on defense for like 10 minutes out of 12 minutes of one quarter,” senior defender Max Warn said. “Our first game against Kent (Denver), that’s a great offense as well and we really buckled down, focused up. We kind of lost that intensity throughout the season but I think we really found it this game. We played a ton of defense and we really played well there.”

Heading into the contest, Erie boasted the top ranking in CHSAA’s RPI in Class 4A. It has already defeated 4A’s No. 5 Air Academy, No. 6 Dawson, and 5A’s No. 9 Grandview, and its only other loss came at the hands of 5A’s No. 10 Cherokee Trail. Kent Denver, Jefferson Academy and Windsor — who are earning votes in their respective 5A and 4A polls — also gave way to Erie victories this year.

That type of adversity was head coach Nick Mandia’s plan all along, and he’s seeing his boys grow with every faceoff and with every passing opponent. Their work, however, is not done yet as the season starts to taper off.

The Tigers will host Fruita Monument next on Monday afternoon before finishing out the regular season with 4A’s top-ranked Denver South, No. 9 Evergreen and No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain.

“The goal was to schedule a bunch of teams that could challenge us in that manner so that we’d be bolstered and hardened by that, be ready to go and win in the postseason against the elite teams in 4A,” Mandia said. “We’re better because we played that game.

“We’re getting closer and closer to being able to play and sustain elite lacrosse for four quarters and that’s what it’ll take to win a state title. I believe that we can contend for a state title this year, just like we have in the past years, but I feel a little stronger this year knowing what our schedule is doing for us as we progress through the season.”