Dakota Ridge boys lacrosse edges No. 7 Lakewood in battle of unbeaten teams

LAKEWOOD — It wasn’t perfect, but Dakota Ridge’s boys lacrosse team was good enough Wednesday night to stay perfect on the season.

The Eagles improved to 9-0 on the season by handing Lakewood, ranked No. 7 in the latest CHSAANow.com Class 5A boys lacrosse poll, its first loss of the year.

Dakota Ridge juniors Samuel Arfsten (7) and Jacobi Villamaria (16) celebrate an Eagles' goal during a 13-11 victory over Lakewood. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“I think it was really cool for Jeffco,” Dakota Ridge coach James Foote said after the Eagles’ 13-11 victory at Trailblazer Stadium. “It was really cool as a conference to have an 8-0 team and 7-0 team get after it. It wasn’t the cleanest one by any means. It was fun.”

Dakota Ridge kept a slim lead for the majority of the 5A Jeffco League opener for both teams. The Eagles’ largest lead was four goals, but the Tigers (7-1, 0-1 in league) trimmed it down to one goals several times as both teams traded goals throughout the offensive game.

Senior Samuel Arfsten had a pair of goals for the Eagles. Dakota Ridge’s strong junior class poured in the rest of the Eagles’ 11 goals with Drew Eickelman and Carson Langfield scoring four goals each.

“I wasn’t really surprise,” Langfield said of the wide-open game. “Lakewood is strong offensive and we knew it would be an offensive game. Our defense performed when we needed them and we came out with the win.”

Lakewood looked to make one last push midway through the fourth quarter with goals from juniors Kegan Hufford and Evan Woods to cut Dakota Ridge’s lead to 12-10 with 5:23 left to play. However, Langfield stepped up with a huge goal with 2:32 left to push the Eagles’ lead back to three goals.

Lakewood junior Pierce Holley, right, tries to get off a shot while fending off Dakota Ridge senior Gavin Gines. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

The Eagles had to play shorthanded in the final quarter with Eickelman suffering an apparent ankle injury.

“It was sad to see Drew go down, but I wasn’t nervous because we have a great group behind him,” Foote said.

Lakewood remarkable junior class scored all 11 of the Tigers’ goals. Hufford, Jacob Brunner and Pierce Holley scored three goals each. Woods finished with two goals. It wasn’t enough as Lakewood suffered its first setback of the season.

“I think our message was that it isn’t fun to lose. It doesn’t feel good,” Lakewood coach Eric Seelbach said. “We’ve just got to move on. Pine Creek is Friday.”

Seelbach said he thought the Tigers were “undisciplined” on defense as Lakewood gave up a season-high 13 goals. Lakewood didn’t allow a Dakota Ridge goal in the first five minutes of the second half, but the Eagles ended up with three goals in the final seven minutes of the third quarter to get their offensive back in gear.

Lakewood junior Kegan Hufford, right, puts a shot on Dakota Ridge goalie Alan Goddard. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“I definitely think we had the momentum coming out of the locker room at halftime,” Seelbach said. “We were just too sloppy and couldn’t maintain composure from top to bottom, me all the way down to the rest of the team.”

Foote also admitted his team hasn’t been as sharp has he would like heading into the heart of conference play.

“The last few games have been pretty sloppy for us,” Foote said. “You’ve got to keep focused. Our next three games are massive.”

Dakota Ridge has road games in Colorado Springs against Palmer (Friday, April 13) and Pine Creek (Tuesday, April 17) before facing rival and No. 4 Columbine on Friday, April 20, at Trailblazer Stadium.

Of course being undefeated is nice, but there is some pressure to stay perfect for the Eagles.

“A little nervous,” Langfield said of the undefeated record. “We don’t want to ruin it for a while.”

Dakota Ridge junior Ryan Kissinger, right, races past Lakewood defender Darian Schott. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)