DENVER | The Regis Jesuit boys lacrosse team is full of developing young talent, but its senior backbone delivered the Raiders a Class 5A state championship.
With momentum shifting over to an explosive Arapahoe team in the fourth quarter of the state title game May 20 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, senior Joey Chott scored two key goals to put the Raiders back on track in an 11-5 victory.
Senior Mikey Bealer recorded a hat trick in the opening quarter to get Regis Jesuit off and running and coach Jim Soran’s Raiders lived up to their season motto of “Finish” by keeping the Warriors at bay the rest of the way on their way the program’s second state title in three seasons and third all-time.
“We’ve got a tremendous senior class,” Soran said. “They had to play well since we graduated 10 of our starters from last year. It took a lot of hard work to get this one.”
Chott joined Bealer with three goals and Alec Barnes had a pair as seniors accounted for eight of the scores for Regis Jesuit (17-2), which finished the season on an 11-game winning streak.
Barnes — who has signed with the University of Denver — finished his career with two goals and two assists and the perfect capper to a career that included two state titles and a runner-up finish.
“We knew this team was based on senior leadership and senior play,” Barnes said. “I can’t believe the way we played tonight, it was unreal… The senior leadership and the brotherhood we formed this year is unparalleled to anything I’ve felt before.”
Another senior, Bealer, elevated his level of play in the postseason as he tallied 13 of his 28 goals on the season in Regis Jesuit’s four playoff wins. It was particularly important given the team had a complete and total change on attack due to graduation and needed offensive output to pair with an outstanding defense.
Bealer got the Raiders off to a flying start in the championship game by scoring three times in the opening period alone, including a memorable point blank steal and score off Arapahoe goalie Ethan Ferrie.
Ferrie attempted to clear the ball after making a save, but Bealer reached his stick up and snared the pass in mid-air, pulled it down and flicked it into the net for a huge goal.
“I just had to put my stick up and got lucky enough to get the ball,” Bealer said. “I knew where he was going to put the pass, so I tried to snag it out of the air. I kindof surprised myself because I turned around to get ready to play some defense and then I realized it was in my stick.”
The Raiders took a 4-1 lead into the break as junior goalie Braden Host stood strong and another boost came when junior long pole Joey Soran tallied.
The Warriors — who coach Soran believed “could ignite at any time,” especially in the wake of a six-goal third period against Mountain Vista in the semifinals — closed the game to 6-4 early in the fourth before Chott scored twice a few minutes later to stem the tide.
Chott’s scores pushed Regis Jesuit to eight goals, the magic formula for victory all season.
“Our defense hasn’t give up more than seven all year, so know if we score over seven, we win the game,” Chott said.
Freshman Reed Babcock, Barnes and Soran added goals as the Raiders left no doubt in the fourth quarter. It was the perfect send off for the senior class.
“All the underclassmen just wanted to play for the seniors,” Joey Soran said. “They have given so much to us and taught us the ropes. That is one of my all-time favorite senior classes and it was great to end it like that for them.”
Bealer felt fortunate to win a state championship in his senior year, especially considering the fierce competition among the state’s elite teams.
“Colorado is considered one of the toughest states to win in lacrosse,” Bealer said. “You have your Marylands and places like that, but Colorado is getting right up there.
“That is a great team we played along with Creek and Vista, all of those teams are top notch. We were lucky enough to pull it out.”
Jim Soran is excited about the young talent that returns for his team, but knows the loss of the senior class will be quite significant.
“We have a lot of players come back, but we’re losing a lot of good ones, too,” he said.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
(1) REGIS JESUIT 11, (3) ARAPAHOE 5
Score by quarters:
Arapahoe 1 0 2 2 — 5
Regis Jesuit 3 1 2 5 — 11
First quarter: Regis Jesuit — Mikey Bealer (T. Michael Thomas), 8:20; Regis Jesuit — Bealer (Alec Barnes), 6:01; Arapahoe — Chase Douglas (Keenan Moffitt), 1:28; Regis Jesuit — Bealer, 0:38
Second quarter: Regis Jesuit — Joey Chott, 4:47
Third quarter: Regis Jesuit — Joey Soran, 10:43; Arapahoe — 34 (15), 9:41; Regis Jesuit — Barnes, 5:53; Arapahoe — Moffitt (Arapahoe), 0:41
Fourth quarter: Arapahoe — David Babb, 11:38; Regis Jesuit — Chott, 10:53; Regis Jesuit — Chott (Barnes), 10:20; Regis Jesuit — Reed Babcock, 7:24; Regis Jesuit — Barnes, 6:44; Regis Jesuit — Soran, 5:59; Arapahoe — Moffitt, 0:25