Ralston Valley boys lacrosse rewriting program's history books

ARVADA — Ralston Valley’s boys lacrosse program in no longer in its infant stages.

The Mustangs are in their third season fielding a varsity program. Ralston Valley made a bit of history Monday night at the North Area Athletic Complex. A 10-8 victory over Legend marked the fourth win of the season for the Mustangs, breaking a previous season-high win total of three.

Ralston Valley senior Tanner Spirek (middle facing) celebrates with teammates after the opening goal Monday night at the North Area Athletic Complex. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Ralston Valley went 3-12 last year and 1-14 in its inaugural season in 2017.

“This year is a lot different,” said Ralston Valley junior Ben Takata, a three-year varsity player for the Mustangs. “To have won more games than last year already is big. We have a lot of freshmen helping out this year, stepping up in leadership roles and playing well for us.”

Takata and freshman Nick Gates led the Mustangs (4-1 record) offensively with three goals each Monday at NAAC. Senior Tanner Spirek, junior Jack Spurlock and freshman Lane Kellogg added a goal each in the victory.

Sophomore goalie Calvin Doucette picked up the victory between the pipes for Ralston Valley against the Titans (2-2).

“It’s nice to get off to a good start and we’re excited about the potential,” Ralston Valley’s second-year coach Nick Lewis said. “(Legend) was a playoff team the last couple of years and are well-coached so that was a good test for us.”

Legend held a 2-1 lead after the first quarter, but Ralston Valley went on a 4-0 run over the span of 10 minutes during the second quarter to take a 6-3 lead at halftime.

Legend senior Jake Hrovat, left, is stopped in his tracks by Ralston Valley freshman Zach Friedman, right, during the second quarter Monday night. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

The Titans crept within 7-5 to start the final quarter, but Spurlock, Gates and Takata scored three straight goals in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Legend got a pair of goals by senior Jack Freeman and a score by Caden Meis in the final minutes, but it was too little too late for the Titans.

“We did a good job tonight of keep fighting and not getting down,” Takata said.

Ralston Valley will take a bit of a hiatus during spring break before diving into Class 5A Jeffco League action in early April.

“Hopefully this is the year that we finally turn some heads,” Takata said of the 5A Jeffco League play that begins April 3 against Lakewood. “Hopefully we can catch some people off-guard early this season because some people think we are still a growing program.”

Lewis is pleased with how his team is playing with a style he call ‘we ball’ and not ‘me ball’ with the Mustangs sharing the ball offensively. He is also encouraged with his young talent.

“We’ve got plug and play guys who are impact players,” Lewis said of his young core. “We are playing five to seven freshmen every game.”

Ralston Valley played in the 5A Front Range League last season. Lewis is thrilled to be in the 5A Jeffco with the likes of Columbine, Chatfield, Dakota Ridge, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Bear Creek and Valor Christian.

“We feel like we can compete in that league,” Lewis said. “We know we have our work cut out for us and we have to get a lot better, but we are excited about being in the Jeffco League. Every game is going to be a test.”

Ralston Valley's Samuel Berning (4), Lane Kellogg (20) and Ben Takata (11) celebrate a second-quarter goal for the Mustangs on Monday night against Legend. The 10-8 victory for Ralston Valley improved the Mustangs' record to 4-1 on the season. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)