AURORA | When they reach the field at Mile High Stadium Friday night, the Regis Jesuit boys lacrosse team will hold a distinct advantage over Kent Denver, its opponent in the Class 5A state title game.
Nobody on the second-ranked Sun Devils’ roster will have played in the Denver Broncos’ stadium before — as the program is in the state championship game for the first time since 2011 — while many of the top-seeded Raiders will be there for the fourth consecutive time and a fifth in a row for coach Jim Soran and his coaching staff.
Regis Jesuit lost to Cherry Creek in last season’s title game to fall to 2-2 in finals over the last four seasons, but demonstrated the form that could bring them out on top of the 7:30 p.m. contest in an 8-2 win over Columbine in Wednesday’s semifinals at Legacy Stadium.
Soran’s Raiders led the fourth-seeded Rebels just 1-0 at halftime on a goal by senior Will Dennen, but responded with its best second half of the postseason with four goals in the third period and three more in the fourth in an 8-2 victory.
Junior Reed Babcock led the way for Regis Jesuit with three goals, freshman Jack Ringhofer netted a pair and Dennen, Anders Erickson and Jake Taylor — who had four goals in each of the Raiders’ first two playoff games — also scored.
Senior goalie Matthew McCarthy made 10 saves and Regis Jesuit held Columbine (15-3) to its lowest-scoring output of the season with just two goals. The Rebels’ next-lowest total of four game in an 8-4 regular season loss to Regis Jesuit May 2.
Kent Denver held off Arapahoe 12-10 in the second semifinal at Legacy Stadium, which set up a rematch with the Raiders, who prevailed 15-13 when the teams met April 25.
Regis Jesuit and Kent Denver last squared off for the state championship in 2011 — before the state was divided into 5A and 4A classifications — and the Raiders won 11-10 in a game played at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports
(1) REGIS JESUIT 8, (4) COLUMBINE 2
Score by quarters:
Columbine 0 0 0 2 — 2
Regis Jesuit 0 1 4 3 — 8
Second quarter: Regis Jesuit — Will Dennen, 9:54
Third quarter: Regis Jesuit — Anders Erickson (Dennen), 8:41; Regis Jesuit — Jack Ringhofer (Erickson), 7:49; Regis Jesuit — Reed Babcock, 5:41; Regis Jesuit — Jake Taylor, 0:14
Fourth quarter: Columbine — Nate Surd, 10:10; Regis Jesuit — Ringhofer (Babcock), 9:23; Regis Jesuit — Babcock (Taylor), 8:49; Columbine — Nick Darrow, 8:15; Regis Jesuit — Babcock, 6:22
Saves — Columbine: Gavin Beilman (15 shots on goal-7 saves); Regis Jesuit: Matthew McCarthy (12 shots on goal-10 saves)