Rebel boys can’t stack up to Bruins

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By Alissa Noe

LAKEWOOD — When Cherry Creek boys lacrosse comes to town, especially for a top-three matchup, an exciting game usually follows.
After a bit of a setback in the first half last April 14 at Trailblazer Stadium, No. 3 Columbine brought its A-game in the second half against the second-ranked Bruins and almost overcame them. But in the end, it wasn’t enough as the Rebels fell for the first time this season, 11-9.
“It’s hard to say what it was about them,” head coach Henry Sulzbacher said. “They’re just a good team. At the end of the day, it’s about as good as I can feel after a loss as possible. I’m happy now. They’re a good team, and we just kind of came out flat. They were prepared for us, and our kids kind of turned over in the first half.”
Coming out, the Rebels didn’t put up much of a fight. In the first half, the Bruins shut them out thanks in part to sharp-shooting from Gabriel Minisini and excellent net protection from goalie Knox Dent.
The Rebels just weren’t prepared.
“We just came in thinking we would roll over them, and we came in very soft,” sophomore Tanner Hollens said. “They came in ready to play and put in nine in the first half.”
At the half, the Rebels trailed 7-0 but were able to turn that ship around real quick.
After a fast goal from the Bruins, the Rebels finally got on the board with a dagger from junior Taylor Gustafson, who finished with four points off of that goal and three assists. On the scoring end, Hollens and senior Nate Surd led the offense with two goals apiece.
A couple scores later, the Rebels had pulled within five before a Cherry Creek goal halted that momentum.
Or so the Bruins thought.
Over the final 13 minutes of action, Columbine outscored the Bruins 6-4 to give Cherry Creek a run for its money near the end. That first-half deficit, however, proved too large to overcome.
“It was sort of a welcome-to-earth moment, and they responded really well. It’s really awesome to see that. We’re bummed about the loss, but it’s about as good of a way to lose as possible,” Sulzbacher said. “These kids care a lot. For them to come out and not quit, I think that epitomizes the toughness.”
With the loss, the Rebels dropped to 5-1 on the season. Next up, they’ll take on rival Chatfield at Trailblazer Stadium on Friday at 5:30 p.m.