LAKEWOOD- It’s the little things in sports that mean a lot.
Columbine did all the little things right in its boys lacrosse game against Evergreen on March 20 at Trailblazer Stadium.
The Rebels made the crisper passes, played defense like they needed to and scored on open shots to pick up a 13-3 Class 5A Foothills League win over Evergreen.
The Cougars entered the game at a bit of a disadvantage having defeated Green Mountain 8-3 just 24 hours earlier and having lost several of their key players due to spring break.
“We put everything on the line in the Green Mountain game. We were definitely sore for this game,” Evergreen senior Bryan Herman said. “We also weren’t ready to play without our whole team together.”
Columbine senior Ryan Ripperton broke open a fairly close game by scoring three goals in the second quarter.
“I didn’t have a lot of energy in the first quarter,” Ripperton said. “I tried to take some Gatorade to get some more energy. I just got the ball and finished the plays.”
Sophomores Rhys Harrison and Aaron Franks helped out Ripperton by scoring two goals apiece.
Herman was the bright spot for Evergreen scoring two of the Cougars’ three goals and assisting on the third.
Columbine got off to a hot start by scoring the game’s first five goals by five different players.
Evergreen showed some life late in the first quarter when Herman scored with 1:20 remaining to get the Cougars on the scoreboard.
Then, Nate Robison rebounded a shot by Herman into the net to pull Evergreen within three goals at 5-2 with 37 seconds to go in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Ripperton got involved, scoring his first goal off a pass from Sal Merlaragno. Ripperton scored again thanks to a feed from Anthony Willner with 59 seconds left in the second quarter to give Columbine a 7-2 lead. Ripperton picked up his third goal of the quarter after a pass from Kevin Costanza with 23 seconds remaining to give Columbine a comfortable 8-2 lead.
Columbine figures to be in the upper echelon of the Foothills League all season long. The Rebels picked up a big 8-6 win over another contender in Golden on March 13. Two days later however, the Rebels lost to Chatfield (in its first year of varsity play) 8-3 to fall into an early hole.
Columbine showed that it would not be down for long with its win over Evergreen and entered the break with momentum on its side.
“We didn’t play very well in that loss to Chatfield, we’ve been motivated in the last week since that game” Ripperton said. “We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves right now.”
Evergreen has been battle tested in the couple of weeks of the season. The Cougars battled perennial Wheat Ridge all game long before losing 8-6 on March 13.
Evergreen made a statement that it will be in the playoff hunt with an 8-3 victory over Green Mountain on March 19. Expectations are high for the Cougars once they return from break.
“I feel like we’re going to make the playoffs,” Herman said.