The Fruita Monument High School boys lacrosse team knew it had to be better at the faceoff circle and in groundball scenarios in order to pull away from a fired-up Durango team Friday afternoon at DHS, as the Demons looked for a boost to potentially make the state tournament.
The Wildcats were able to outscore the Demons 9-2 in the second half to grab an 18-8 road win.
“We knew we had to come out tough against these guys, and they were doing a great job at the faceoff and with ground balls,” said Fruita head coach Kevin Costanza. “We knew that if we controlled the game from the groundball standpoint, we’d be much more successful, and that’s what happened in the second half. We were dodging to find the open looks, the kids were moving well off-ball, and when you find open guys close to the goal, it’s easy to put it in the back of the net. Tic-tac-toe kind of stuff.”
Durango’s senior faceoff specialist Andrew Coleman won 12-of-19 on the day, including eight in the first two quarters.
Still, the Wildcats (11-2, 7-1 Mountain League) got off to a quick lead in the first, but the Demons came back to erase a two-goal deficit with goals from Corbin Randle and Cullen Robinette. They scored two each to tie the game at 4-4 after the first period.
Durango (6-5, 2-5 ML) went down two goals before tying the game at 6-6 with Robinette’s second goal of the game, which came unassisted with 5:37 left in the half. The Demons won the ensuing possession but threw the ball away, and it ignited a rally from the Wildcats, as they scored the final three goals of the half to take a 9-6 lead into the locker room.
“The first half was great. We were moving the ball really well, finding the open looks and getting everyone involved,” said DHS head coach John Robinette. “It wasn’t the way we wanted to end the first half, but a three-goal game is still close. We were looking for that second win on defense, but they did a great job there in that second half and really made us work for our stops.”
Fruita’s offense was efficient in the second half, as it scored five times in the third. Freshman Tony Farber scored two of his game-high six goals in the quarter. Fruita led 14-8 after three quarters.
In the fourth, the Wildcats continued to find open looks to get past DHS goalie Dylan Gaver, who finished with 11 saves.
“We just ran out of legs there and it was tough to stop,” coach Robinette said. “We were going in and out man-to-man and zone defense and we just weren’t all on the same page. We just need to put more time in on that defense and have to make sure we’re all playing the same way and are on the same page.”
Cullen Robinette finished with three goals and two assists on the day to lead DHS, while Connor Hagee of Fruita had four goals and two assists.
Durango will host Grand Junction (10-1, 8-0 SWL) at 11 a.m. Saturday for senior day.