There were smiles through the tears as the members of the Cherry Creek girls lacrosse team held up the second-place trophy for their fans after the Class 5A state tournament ended May 23 at the Barton Stadium on the University of Denver Campus.
This was the fourth year Cherry Creek and Colorado Academy faced off for the state girls lacrosse championship. The Mustangs won three titles in a row coming into the game and they took their fourth championship trophy home May 23 after winning the game 13-7.
The game lived up to its billing early. The Bruins scored first but Colorado Academy responded and tied the score. It was back and forth early and the Mustangs led 5-4 at the end of the first half
But Colorado Academy outscored the Bruins 4-1 early in the second half to stretch its lead. Cherry Creek played hard but wasn't able to close the gap.
“I thought we came out hard and well prepared, but unfortunately, our shots weren't getting into the net,” Bruins coach Bailey Zerr said. “Defensively, we had a good game plan but they are a tough team to stop and their systems were tough to beat. It took us a while to adjust and we didn't quite have it at the end to finish it out once we figured out their system.”
She said Colorado Academy played a strong ball-control style but the coach said when her team had the ball they mounted good attacks but, for some reason, their shots weren't falling.
“We dug ourselves into a hole on the scoreboard but the girls worked really, really hard to get back into the game. We made some shots and we felt good when we cut their lead to 6-5,” the coach said. “I am so proud of our team for digging themselves out of that hold. But this is a game of runs, and right after we cut the lead to one goal, they timed runs, scored goals and we just couldn't find the net to close the gap again. We didn't win, but the girls played hard and I am very proud of this team and all they accomplished this season.”
Three players, Jiliana Gomez, Isabel Anema and Katie Collins, each scored a goal for the Bruins. Adema and Hail Sabilia each had an assist. Sophomore Morgan Haws was the leading scorer for Cherry Creek with four unassisted goals.
“This was a tough game tonight and I just did all I could to help our team win,” Haws said after the game. “I love this team and I love the sport. We played hard tonight and I just wish we had won, particularly for our seniors.”
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