Dawson routs Conifer to move into 4A championship
LAFAYETTE — Dawson struck early and often in a 17-4 win over Conifer in the Class 4A boys lacrosse semifinals.
"They were very sharp in all facets. We stuck to our gameplan and executed it well," Dawson coach Peter Devlin said. "I'm super proud of these guys and all the hard work they've put in. We've been wanting to get back to this game really bad.
"We're trying to focus on every day and trying to get better. Work on the details and make sure we're learning."
Gavin Pure led Dawson with five goals, including three in the first half.
"The gameplan was to move the ball, possess the ball and win faceoffs. Kyle (Sudol) won just about every faceoff," Pure said. "Possess, pass, pass, dodge and get our shots. We did a great job of that, and when the ball did get on our defensive end, our six-on-six defense shut them down."
Jack Shams netted three goals in the game, including a howler from deep. Taylor Kamigaki and Hunter Watts each had three goals a piece.
Both Shams and Pure had hat tricks by halftime as Dawson led 10-1 after two quarters.
"Try to embrace the adversity rather than run away from it," Pure said. "I think especially this game and moving into the championship, that's the biggest thing. At this point, the teams are so good that it's about holding them so they can't go on a run. They're going to get a goal here and there, but it's about possessing the ball and being aware."
Dawson held Conifer's prolific goal-scorers to almost zero opportunities.
"We were trying to limit their transition opportunities and play six on six. We feel really good about defense," Devlin said. "They have three very talented attackmen and when they get the ball in transition, they're very crafty with their sticks."
And when they got an opportunity, Dawson Santangelo was in net to stone the shot.
"(Santangelo) played so awesome today," Devlin said. "He's such a talented kid and we're lucky to have him. A couple huge saves that could have been goals with another goalie, and next thing you know, it's going the other way."
Chase Phelps was held scoreless after coming into the game with 49 goals and 101 points. The next top goal scorers on Conifer — Mason Meyer, Nick Williams and Riley Miller — were held to just a goal a piece.
Meyer gave Conifer a chance down 6-0, as he worked his way towards goal and ripped a shot. The ball went off the post and Mac Zee took it right down and gave the Mustangs a 7-0 lead.
It was more of the same in the second half as Dawson never let Conifer into the game and controlled the possession in the offensive end.
"We know we're going to win a lot of faceoffs, and our offense kind of takes care of itself as long as we can limit the time of possession for the other team," Devlin said.
Miller got Conifer on the board in the second half to close the score to 11-2, but Asher Walker made sure that hope was short-lived with a goal of his own to extend the Dawson lead.
Again, Cole Hollander scored for Conifer to make it 12-3, but Kamigaki put a goal in less than a minute later.
Up next is a rematch with Valor Christian.
Dawson lost by one goal — and a late one at that — to Valor Christian in last year's championship game.
"I've been looking forward to it for a long time," Pure said. "They're a great team and we're going to have to put a good game together. They're going to be a tough opponent, but so are we. It's going to be a battle."
Valor Christian pulls away from Cheyenne Mountain to advance to 4A championship
Valor Christian absorbed a comeback from Cheyenne Mountain after pulling away early to vault into the Class 4A boys lacrosse championship.
Valor Christian went on a 7-0 second-quarter run to make a 4-3 lead into an 11-3 lead.
Grayson Goodyear scored the first three goals for Valor Christian to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead after one quarter.
But, Cheyenne Mountain would not go down easy. The Indians responded to make it 12-7.
And again, Valor Christian came right back. Goodyear, Tillman and Seidlin scored three quick goals to extend the lead to 15-7.
The Eagles then cruised to a 17-9 win and will face Dawson to defend their title.