DENVER — For the fifth consecutive year, Colorado Academy and Cherry Creek will square off in the girls lacrosse state championship following a 14-8 win for the Mustangs over Valor Christian and a 12-11 victory for the Bruins over Regis Jesuit.
Colorado Academy 14, Valor Christian 8
The undefeated Colorado Academy Mustangs continued their recent dominance in the state, rolling the Eagles 14-8 behind big performances from senior Sloane Murphy and sophomore Katherine Merrifield.
The two combined for nine of the 14 goals netted.
Colorado Academy held control of the game from the jump, scoring the first three goals, two of which came in the first three and a half minutes of play.
“Our main focus throughout the season has been to focus on what we can control,” Murphy said. “It doesn’t really matter who we are playing, we just have to stay focused on our game plan and our objectives.”
“There is always room to improve,” Murphy continued. “We have a ton that we need to work on and I think our coaches are excited to implement some new stuff in upcoming practices. Regardless of who we play, we have to stay focused on us.”
The Mustangs took a 7-2 lead into the half and seemed to have the game in control. Valor made a game of things in the middle, but Colorado Academy quickly shut the door and closed out the victory.
“We had to run our game and focus on us,” Colorado Academy head coach Steph Sanders said. “Valor is a great team and they really made us execute our game plan today and I couldn’t be more proud of our girls.”
Colorado Academy has won the last four state titles, but they are not satisfied with their recent success.
“We are going to learn some things from this game and take them into the next game,” Sanders continued. “There are things that we need to improve on and we have got to do them very quickly. We must treat this game as if it were any other game, but we also have to execute a great game plan against a very challenging opponent.”
Cherry Creek 12, Regis Jesuit 11
In a back-and-forth contest, the Cherry Creek Bruins took down the Regis Jesuit Raiders, 12-11, thanks to the late game heroics of Amelia McCarthy.
The first half was dominated by defense, but the Cherry Creek was able to make the most of their opportunities, converting four of their seven goals from the free position. Regis also scored one of their goals from the free position.
Regis Jesuit caught fire in the second half, going on a 6-0 advantage that would gain them their first lead since 22:35 left in the first half. Maddie Ferguson scored three goals during that run and Krissy Rael found the net twice.
The Bruins did not go down quietly, bouncing back for two goals of their own.
The two sides entered the final minute of play tied at 11. The Bruins ran the clock down and Amelia McCarthy dodged to her right, found open space and sent the Bruins to their 22nd consecutive state championship game.