AURORA | Two of the key pieces to Regis Jesuit’s run to the Class 5A boys lacrosse state championship in 2016 received All-American honors from U.S. Lacrosse.
Midfielder Alec Barnes and defender Joey Soran were among 12 Colorado players — and the only pair from a single program — on the list of All-Americans from across the country issued recently by the national organization.
Barnes, a 2016 graduate who has signed to play with the NCAA powerhouse University of Denver, and Soran, a senior-to-be who has committed to Penn State, helped coach Jim Soran’s Raiders make the 5A state title game for the third straight season and win it with an 11-5 victory over Arapahoe on May 20 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The presence of a veteran like Barnes was crucial for Regis Jesuit, which graduated virtually its entire offense from the 2015 season. Barnes missed most of his junior year with a major knee injury, but returned and tallied 25 goals and 13 assists to finish with a team-high 38 points and also was outstanding in the face-off circle.
“It’s been incredible, I’m thankful for the coaches and players in the Regis Jesuit program,” Barnes told the Sentinel after the state title game in which he scored two goals and registered two assists. “There are so many good young players that every time I come back, I expect to see them win a state championship.”
Joey Soran also scored two goals in the state championship game — two particularly demoralizing scores coming from a long pole — and helped the Raiders’ phenomenal defense mostly put the shackles on an explosive Arapahoe offense.
In the semifinals, Soran played a key role in Regis Jesuit’s victory over nemesis Cherry Creek and he spent the majority of the day 1-on-1 against Bruins’ star Asher Nolting — who also earned All-American honors — and held him scoreless for the only time all season.
“We have the best defense in the state in my opinion,” Soran said after the Raiders held Cherry Creek to a season-low three goals.
“We win our individual matchups and we press ’em hard,” he added.
Both Barnes and Soran also were All-South Suburban League first team picks, along with eight other teammates and were selected for the annual Froechlicher-Toll All-Star Game as well.
Regis Jesuit’s tradition continues in terms of U.S. Lacrosse All-Americans, as the program has now had at least one selection for the past 10 years.
Raiders who earned All-American accolades in that span are Adam Kratt, Ben Bechter, Brett Quartuccio and Matt Soran (2015), Will Deines (2014), Blake Knobloch and Brian Wegner (2013), Tanner Scales (2012), Tanner Ottenbreit (2011 & 2010), Jon Law (2010), C.J. Schmidt (2009 & 2008), Greyson Konkel (2008 & 2007), Steven Wylie (2008) and Tim Van Benthuysen (2007).
Monarch’s Chad Kreuzer is the only back-to-back All-American from Colorado.
Eleven Colorado players — none from Aurora programs — received Academic All-American distinction, including two apiece from Aspen and Kent Denver.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2016 COLORADO U.S. LACROSSE AWARDS
ALL-AMERICANS — ALEC BARNES (MIDFIELD), REGIS JESUIT; Caleb Espinoza (goalie), sr., Palmer; Connor Fox (attack/midfield), jr., Boulder; Hunter Graefe (LSM), jr., Chaparral; Keaton Komatz (midfield), sr., Heritage; Chad Kruezer (midfield), sr., Monarch; Charlie Leonard (LSM), sr., Arapahoe; Colin Munro (attack/midfield), jr., Mountain Vista; Asher Nolting (attack), jr., Cherry Creek; Mike Pryor (midfield), sr., Mullen; JOEY SORAN (DEFENSE), JR., REGIS JESUIT; Kai Trujillo (attack), sr., Castle View
COACHES OF YEAR (COLORADO) — Class 4A — Pete Devlin (Alexander Dawson); Class 5A — Matt Plitnick (Columbine)
ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS — Landon Baird (midfield), sr., Heritage; John Barron (defense), sr., Colorado Academy; Henry Godfrey (attack), sr., Aspen; Noah Hirshorn (LSM), sr., Mountain Vista; James Hueston (midfield), sr., Kent Denver; Alex Johnson (midfield), sr., Air Academy; Tanner McAdoo (goalie), sr., Golden; Jesse Rosenblatt (attack), sr., Alexander Dawson; Kole Shugars (attack), sr., Telluride; Jonathon Wells (midfield), sr., Aspen; Jack Woodhull (defense), sr., Kent Denver