Columbine rallies to win top-10 boys lacrosse showdown against Monarch

Columbine junior Nate Surd (22) makes a run toward the goal during the Rebels' 14-7 win Friday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

LAKEWOOD — Columbine’s boys lacrosse team might have been second guessing its choice to wear its alternative green jerseys on St. Patrick’s Day.

It an early season top-10 Class 5A boys lacrosse showdown Friday night at Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood, Monarch raced out to a 4-0 lead in the opening eight minutes.

“I’ve never seen anything like that. I thought we had a great warmup, honestly, and we were down 4-0 before we could even turn around,” Columbine coach Matt Plitnick said. “I didn’t know which way it was going to go.”

The Rebels turned the tide getting goals from Gabe Mein, Nate Surd and Tanner Hollens in the final 3 minutes of the first quarter to quickly cut the Coyotes’ lead to 4-3. Columbine continued its run outscoring Monarch 4-0 in the second quarter with goals from Dylan Leinhart, Nick Darrow, Matthew Georgiades and Patrick Stadelmaiser to take a 7-4 halftime lead.

“Our patience,” Georgiades said of what turned thing around for the Rebels, who went on to double-up Monarch 14-7 with the final score. “We knew what to do and how to run our offense. We knew when we got the ball we would capitalize on it.”

Rebels celebrate a goal during a 7-0 run against Monarch. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Monarch regrouped after halftime getting early goals by Tyler Bradley and Drew Tausan to cut Columbine’s lead to 7-6, but the Rebels answered again. Columbine scored the next four goals to push its lead out to 11-6.

“They pulled together,” Plitnick said. “It wasn’t just one person. It was a lot of our junior guys who have been on varsity for three years that stepped up and brought it together. I’ve never been apart of one like that.”

Mein (4 goals) and Georgiades (3 goals) led the way offensively, but the Rebels got plenty of contributions with eight different goal scorers.

“We are deeper than we have been,” Mein said. “It’s nice to have confidence in eight or nine players that can rotate in.”

Columbine finished the game in style outscoring Monarch 3-0 in the final quarter. Rebels’ goalie Gavin Beilman came up with some big saves to shutout the Coyotes in both the second and fourth quarters.

“These are two big non-conference wins that are going to help us with the RPI and playoff seeding,” Plitnick said about victories over Grandview and Monarch to start the season. “I couldn’t be happier. I’m ecstatic.”

No. 5 Columbine (2-0) and No. 7 Monarch (1-2) were both ranked in the CHSAANow.com 5A boys lacrosse preseason poll. The Rebels edged Grandview 10-9 in their season opener. It was always a bit of revenge. The Wolves upset Columbine in the first round of the 5A state tournament last year.

Columbine's Taylor Gustafson (34) absorbs a check by Monarch's Will Zwiers. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“We’ve got to take it game-by-game, but it’s definitely our goal to get out of the first round this year,” Mein said. “It’s our first goal on the list.”

Monarch has also played a challenging early schedule. The Coyotes, who advance to the 5A state quarterfinals last season, lost to No. 8 Colorado Academy by a single goal Wednesday.

Columbine has conference games against Pine Creek and Lakewood in the newly formed 5A Jeffco League next week before heading to Arizona for two games during spring break.

“This is definitely a big one for us,” Georgiades said. “This is going to bring our confidence up for next week and the trip to Arizona.”

Monarch junior Tyler Bradley (7) makes a run by getting checked by Columbine's Andy Stasch on Friday at Trailblazer Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)