Billy Corbett and the Regis Jesuit girls lacrosse team are going where neither has even been before.
The senior-driven Raiders closed out a fantastic regular season with a 13-10 win over powerhouse Cherry Creek on May 3 — just a few days after taking down Kent Denver — the first time either the team or the coach had tasted victory against those teams.
The reward for Regis Jesuit was the top seed and a first-round bye in the state playoffs.
“Knocking off No. 1 and No. 2 is big,” said Corbett, whose team sat out the first round and plays No. 17 ThunderRidge, an 8-5 winner over No. 16 Heritage, at 5 p.m. May 10 at Lou Kellogg Stadium in the second round.
“Our season is over and now the next season begins,” he added. “Now, we’re going to approach it as we have one game, then one game, then one game. Our goal has always been to win state, but we’re taking it one game at a time.
“We’re very thankful to be in the position that we’re in.”
Corbett designed the schedule to end with two big contests and the Raiders performed even better than he could have imagined in beating the Sun Devils (15-13) and Bruins, teams that have combined to win 13 of the past 16 state championships.
A core of seniors that includes five Division I signees — Oregon-bound Kathryn Blumhardt and Erin Schilmoeller, Cal signee Courtney Gielow, Yale recruit Erin Sungelo and Colorado signee Maddy Krause — has been the driving force behind Regis Jesuit’s breakout season.
A first-round playoff loss to Centaurus in 2010, a 2011 season without a playoff appearance and a second-round defeat at the hands of Centaurus last season made the veteran group as determined as ever this season.
“It’s our senior year, we’ve wanted this for so long and we’ve worked so hard,” Krause said. “We have an amazing team. Winning state is something we think we can do and we’re going to work for it every day.
“We’re going to keep going full force in the next few weeks and be as strong as we can. Hopefully we’ll be playing at DU on May 22.”
The play of senior goalie Emma Bohn, who moved up from junior varsity to varsity this season to replace graduated Emi Smith, has been an unexpected boost to Regis Jesuit’s success as well.
Bohn didn’t have any competition for the starting job, but has been a revelation this season. She made a handful of crucial saves against Cherry Creek and played a key role as the Raiders held the high-scoring Bruins to 10 goals, matching their season low.
“I didn’t have to beat anybody out to start, so I just had to light my own fire,” said Bohn, a jokester who is a stark contrast personality wise to the intense Smith.
“These girls are amazing and they welcomed me with open arms,” she said.
While there’s been a lot to feel good about for Regis Jesuit, the Raiders know they can’t have any second-half letdowns from now on, a small bugaboo.
It didn’t cost the Raiders against Cherry Creek — though they were outscored 7-5 by the Bruins — but it did hurt them in an earlier loss to Centaurus, when they lost a game they led by five.
“What we’ve been working on is playing two halves; we want to play both halves as if it is zero-zero,” Corbett said. “The game is peaks and valleys, so we just want to get through them.”
When Regis Jesuit is clicking on all cylinders —as it was against Cherry Creek — it feels like it can beat anybody. And has.
“Our goal is the state championship; we’re not changing,” Blumhardt said.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555
2013 GIRLS LACROSSE STATE PLAYOFFS
No. 17 ThunderRidge at NO. 1 REGIS JESUIT, 5 p.m., May 10
No. 9 Arapahoe vs. No. 8 Chatfield, 2 p.m.. May 11, Trailblazer Stadium
No. 20 St. Mary’s Academy at No. 4 Kent Denver, 1 p.m., May 11
No. 12 Palmer Ridge at No. 5 Centaurus, 4 p.m., May 10
No. 14 Denver East at No. 3 Cherry Creek, 7 p.m., May 10
No. 11 Columbine at No. 6 Cheyenne Mountain, 11 a.m., May 11
No. 10 Mullen vs. No. 7 Chaparral, 7 p.m., May 10, Sports Authority Stadium (Parker)
No. 15 Colorado Academy at No. 2 Air Academy, 1 p.m., May 11