LAKEWOOD — Arapahoe turned the tables on Columbine in the second round of the girls lacrosse state tournament Friday night.
A goal by Arapahoe junior Meg Hanson two minutes into overtime abruptly ended the season for the Jeffco League and No. 5-seeded Rebels.
“I was really nervous taking that shot,” Hanson said of the game-winning goal that came after a foul by the Rebels. “It was a kind of a low angle shot. I saw the right side was open and bounced in the shot.”
The No. 12 Warriors celebrated a 12-11 upset victory at Trailblazer Stadium. Arapahoe moves onto the state quarterfinals where they will face No. 4 Chaparral.
Last year, it was the Rebels who entered the state tournament as the No. 12 seed. Columbine knocked off No. 5 Denver East 6-5 to advance to the state quarterfinals.
“We were the underdogs in that position last year and we took it away from East,” Columbine coach Sonorah Hunter said. “Obviously, Arapahoe came out with nothing to lose mentality and that brought their level of intensity up. They outplayed us today.”
Columbine (13-3 record) outplayed Arapahoe early with a 5-1 lead through the first dozen minutes of the first half. Alea Tooley, Maura Singer, Maeve Hungerford and Whitney Block got goals early. The Rebels were even aided by Arapahoe putting in an own-goal, but the Warriors never doubted they could mount a comeback.
“We just had the fire in our bellies,” Hanson said. “Even when we were down we had trust in each other and the process.”
Arapahoe worked its way back tying the game at 7-7 going into halftime. The Warriors took a 8-7 lead in the first five minutes of the second half with a goal from junior Collette Lemanske. However, a small weather cell moved in to create a 45-minute lightning delay with 20:50 left in regulation time.
The delay clearly didn’t hurt Arapahoe (10-6). The Warriors outscored the Rebels 3-1 coming out of the break to take a 11-8 lead with six minutes to play.
“I think that helped us,” Hanson said of the lightning delay. “Once we got into the locker room we all got pumped up. We got our confidence up and kept the energy up.”
Columbine rallied with three straight goals over a span of three minutes to tie the game at 11-11. Singer, sophomore Emma Maxwell and Hungerford scored to tie things up with two minutes to play in the second half.
Hanson had a good chance to grab the lead in the final minute, but her shot went just wide and the game went into overtime.
“We talked about being the underdog and having that underdog mentality,” Arapahoe coach Brianna Huynh said. “There was no pressure on us. We just had to play our game, stay composed and come out with the win.”
That is just what the Warriors did in overtime. Columbine junior goalie Annie Van Norstrand made a pair of saves early in the extra session, but couldn’t stop the game-winning goal by Hanson. The Rebels couldn’t get a shot on goal in overtime.
“Defensively I thought we played awesome,” Hunter said. “They gave the offensive all the opportunities. We just didn’t capitalize on those.”
Columbine was without junior Angela Naughton on the offensive side. The 30-goal scorer was injured April 20 against Dakota Ridge and wasn’t able to get back on the field after the injury.
“I was hoping to get her (Naughton) back later in the season. It unfortunate she doesn’t get to play,” Hunter said. “She does give a spark to these team, but ultimately this team was more than capable of doing it themselves.”
Columbine was riding a 10-game winning streak coming into the playoffs.
“Our team isn’t accustom to being one of the top-ranked teams in the state,” Hunter said. “It’s a great lesson for them. It’s an important loss for us today.”