Warriors win first boys lacrosse title

Posted 5/18/09

Scott Kaniewski The Arapahoe High School boys lacrosse team sat in a circle at the middle of Mile High Stadium at Invesco Field. They took turns, …

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Warriors win first boys lacrosse title


Scott Kaniewski

The Arapahoe High School boys lacrosse team sat in a circle at the middle of Mile High Stadium at Invesco Field. They took turns, raising their hands and saying what they loved about the moment, what it meant to them.

One pointed out that it was the best season ever in Arapahoe boys lacrosse. He wasn’t wrong.

The top-seeded Warriors defeated No. 2 Mullen 7-6 at Mile High on May 17 to win the school’s first boys lacrosse state championship trophy.

While the Warriors had 18 seniors that worked on bringing a state title to the school, it was a junior that pulled off the heroics. Attacker Greg Colosimo completed the hat trick on a diving shot to put Arapahoe ahead 7-6 with 2:05 left on the clock. The setup was nearly as pretty as the goal itself.

Following a timeout, Colosimo and Eric Law took the ball behind the Mullen goal and huddled. Law went right, Colosimo went left. Most of the Mullen defense followed Law, the Warriors’ leading scorer. But Colosimo was the one carrying the ball. He started to the front of the net, but passed to Drew Babb. As the defense converged on Babb, the senior captain gave it back to Colosimo. In one motion, Colosimo caught the pass turned and dived toward the net, sending a shot past Mullen goalie James Standley.

Arapahoe controlled play for half the remaining time, then held off Mullen’s last attack.

“That time I just flipped it up and just put it behind,” Colosimo said. “I usually pass it up, but nobody played me so I just took it. It’s awesome, but it’s just another goal. Anybody could have scored it, it just happened to be me.”

The two teams had met once before. In that game, Arapahoe won 16-6. This time around, Mullen used a different strategy. The Mustangs won 11 faceoffs compared to Arapahoe’s three. That advantage in possession allowed Mullen to run a deliberate offense, trying to run time off the clock and keep the ball away from Arapahoe.

Mullen faceoff specialist Chace Calkin gained possession often because Arapahoe faceoff specialist Devin Pullara was held out of the game after suffering a concussion in the quarterfinals.

Pullara was forced to watch the game from the sidelines. But the rest of his team stayed patient.

“Eric, Greg and I like having the ball a lot,” said senior attacker Ryan Parietti. “We don’t like when it’s down on that end the whole game.”

The Warriors came out at half tied at 2. They quickly fell behind when Mullen scored three times in the third quarter. Mullen’s Austin Shact rocketed a shot from behind the Major League Lacrosse’s 2-point arc. But in high school, the goal counted for the customary one, putting Mullen up 5-2. Too bad for Mullen, it could have used the extra point.

From then on Arapahoe outscored Mullen 5-1. Parietti got the Warriors on the move with a great wraparound goal. He started one way, cut back, then doubled back, losing his defender, streaking out front and scoring.

“At halftime we kind of felt like we were losing we were playing so bad, even though it was tied up 2-2,” Parietti said. “They kind of were running a stall offense because they didn’t want us to have the ball a lot.”

Senior Michael Griffin made it a one-goal game with 33 seconds left in the third quarter on a bounce-shot that beat Standley.

Law tied the game when he scooped up the rebound of a Colosimo shot and put it into the net.

With the game tied at 5, Mullen’s Tyler Ankarlo fired a shot. The only thing it found was Arapahoe goalie Ryan Elliott’s mask, the sound audible throughout the stadium.

“It was a hard throw,” said Elliott, who finished with 12 saves. “I wasn’t expecting that.”

Because of the save, the next lead would be Arapahoe’s, its first since 8:28 of the second period. Law sent a pass from behind the net to Colosimo, who slammed it home. Mullen would tie it 1:33 later before Colosimo’s game-winner.

For Colosimo, the win was dedicated to the seniors.

“They worked so hard,” Colosimo said. “The whole season was about them.”

The Warriors got on the board when Colosimo and Matt Lueders scored in the first period. But Mullen tied it in the second period with goals 12 seconds apart. Mullen scored the first three goals in the second half to give the Mustangs their lead.

For Arapahoe’s 18 seniors, the championship was the culmination of a long and winding road. Two years prior the Warriors reached the semifinals. Last season, they also were ousted in the semifinals. Then they lost their coach. In came Guy Cerasoli and his coaching staff, the third coaching staff in four seasons.

Cerasoli, his coaching staff and the senior leadership put Arapahoe on the right track.

“The seniors are so happy right now,” Cerasoli said. “I am so proud of them. It means the world to them and I am so happy I could help them achieve that.”

With their goal accomplished, Parietti tried to put it into words.

“I can’t even explain,” Parietti said. “We’ve been working for four years, a bunch of us, the same group of guys. We’ve wanted it so bad. This is so unreal that we finally got it.”


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