After a strange odyssey to get to the Class 5A state championship game — including a semifinal that stretched over two days — the Regis Jesuit boys lacrosse team ran into a buzzsaw in the final.
Top-seeded Cherry Creek — which suffered its only loss to the Raiders during the regular season — came out firing from start to finish in a thorough 17-8 victory May 19 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Bruins went on a couple of massive scoring streaks and tallied at least three goals in every period to deny Regis Jesuit a repeat 5A state championship and win their sixth all-time title.
“We just got beat, they are a great team,” said Raiders coach Jim Soran, whose team lost to Cherry Creek in the state championship game for the second time in three seasons and finished 15-4.
“We had some chances that we didn’t bury early and they got the momentum,” he added. “You can’t let a team like that get the momentum.”
Regis Jesuit posted a three-goal win against Cherry Creek in the opening weeks of the regular season, but it was a different story in the rematch.
The Bruins scored the first two goals of the game in rapid succession before junior Patrick Roe got them on the scoreboard.
The Raiders had the tying goal from senior Quentin Birch disallowed due to an offside call and that was the last chance they would have to even it up, as Cherry Creek scored three times in the final five minutes of the period to take a 5-1 lead.
The Bruins piled on three more to their lead in the second quarter as they limited Regis Jesuit’s possessions and forced the Raiders into a number of turnovers.
Taylor got another in the second period, but by then the Raiders faced a seven-goal margin that quickly grew to eight as Cherry Creek scored again with just 26 seconds gone in the second half.
The Bruins’ lead crested at 11 goals in the closing period.
Sophomore Jake Taylor led Regis Jesuit with a pair of goals, while Birch, Reed Babcock, Grant Breeden, Joe Kassal, Nick Ringhofer and Roe also had goals for Regis Jesuit. Senior goalie Braden Host faced 22 shots in three periods in the nets and made eight stops before yielding to PJ Offner in the final period.
The Raiders were dealing with an unprecedented turnaround in playing in the state championship game just a day after they finished their semifinal.
Playing after Cherry Creek had defeated Kent Denver May 17 at Legacy Stadium, the Raiders and Arapahoe got in 40 minutes, 24 seconds, of their semifinal before lightning and rain forced the game to be postponed.
Snow scrubbed plans to play the remaining 7:26 at Stutler Bowl — with Regis Jesuit in front 10-5 — May 18 and eventually forced a move to an indoor facility, the Foothills Sports Arena.
Despite all that, the Raiders picked up the intensity they left off with and finished off a 15-7 win over the Warriors.
Taylor scored seven goals to pace Regis Jesuit, which trailed 5-3 at one point in the first portion of the game, but rallied in front before the weather hit.
Junior Anders Erickson kicked in three goals and Breeden and Ringhofer collected two apiece in the victory.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
(1) CHERRY CREEK 17, (2) REGIS JESUIT 8
Score by quarters:
Regis Jesuit 1 1 2 4 — 8
Cherry Creek 5 4 5 3 — 17
Regis Jesuit goals: Jake Taylor 2, Reed Babcock, Quentin Birch, Grant Breeden, Joe Kassal, Patrick Roe, Nick Ringhofer. Regis Jesuit assists: Anders Erickson 2, Babcock, Ringhofer. Regis Jesuit saves: Braden Host (22 shots on goal-8 saves), PJ Offner (5 shots on goal-2 saves)