WESTMINSTER — Youth in high school sports can be a blessing, but sometimes it can be a vice as well.
On Wednesday night at Mountain Range High School, the cold winter wind nipping at the players’ faces, Boulder boys lacrosse learned that the hard way in a 20-6 loss to the Mustangs. Now 0-2 early into the season, the Panthers will have to learn through growing pains.
That’s natural after losing 15 seniors from the year before and welcoming nine freshmen, including starting goalie Toby Benham, to the varsity roster.
“We’re definitely starting to grow,” senior attacker Max Burhop said. “It’s going to take a learning curve for them, obviously. They’re going to have to get out of their comfort zone a little bit, and they definitely are. I don’t think the score tonight reflected how they’ve been playing and how they’ve grown so far.”
The Panthers illustrated some promise in spurts. After opening the game down 5-0, Burhop led an offensive charge to draw the deficit to just two goals, 7-5, toward the beginning of the second quarter. He finished his night with a hat trick.
In the nearly three quarters that followed, however, the Mustangs gassed them out en route to their own victory. Burhop still saw improvements in some of the younger guys, especially compared to what he witnessed on the first day of the season. He believes that with a little more time together and more reps on the field, the Panthers will earn their first victory in no time.
“Our first game, they were visibly nervous, for sure,” Burhop said. “Today, I think they’re still nervous, but I’m definitely seeing them start to come through a little more in practice.
“We have the personnel. We have the athleticism. I think it’s just a matter of guys getting more comfortable. We have room to grow — we have a lot of room to grow, actually. I can see this team doing very well at some point. It’s just a matter of guys stepping up. It’s big boy ball now.”