LAKEWOOD — Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood has been the mecca for boys and girls lacrosse teams in Jeffco for several years.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic silenced the high school lacrosse action last spring.
“It’s been rough, mainly because we couldn’t see the girls and see your team,” Green Mountain girls lacrosse coach Maddie Ossello said talking about last year’s lost season. “They girls were ready to get back. I know the coaches were excited to walk back into Trailblazer. It felt so good.”
Tuesday marked the return of girls lacrosse at Trailblazer Stadium with Green Mountain and Dakota Ridge opening up play with a non-league contest. It was the first of over 60 regular-season boys and girls lacrosse games that Trailblazer Stadium will host over the span of the next six weeks.
“It was amazing. It was incredible,” Dakota Ridge junior Stella Nefs said. “At the start when the (public address announcer) speaker when off for the first time since my freshman year it was just joy. We were all so hyped up to play. It was so fun.”
Nefs helped lead Dakota Ridge to an 11-8 victory. The junior had a team-high four goals. She scored back-to-back goals to start a 4-0 run by the Eagles in the first half that opened up a 6-2 lead for Dakota Ridge.
Green Mountain closed the gap to 7-5 at halftime with goals by Sophie Warren, Trisha Le and Bailey Stokes, but Dakota Ridge hung on with a solid performance in goal by sophomore Rosella Martinez.
“This give us some momentum and hypes us up,” Nefs said after she sealed the victory with her fourth goal in the final minute. “It’s a great start to a great season.”
Dakota Ridge coach Demi Riecke, who was actually a teammate of Ossello when both played at Green Mountain together, was excited to be back coaching her girls on the sidelines after missing out on last season.
“We definitely missed the girls and missed being apart of something,” Riecke said. “This is what they needed and it’s great to be back.”
While Riecke has a dozen seniors on the squad this season, she has plenty of young talent as Dakota Ridge’s numbers have grown to 39 players.
“The future of the program is huge,” Riecke said. “A lot of my stud athletes are young and they are going to build this program.”
Green Mountain came in ranked No. 8 in the preseason CHSAANow.com Class 4A girls lacrosse poll. The Rams do have a clear focus this season.
“Playoffs,” Ossello said without hesitation when asked about the goal of the Rams this season. “Green Mountain has never made it to the playoffs. The girls have made that goal of making the playoffs.”
It won’t be an easy path for Green Mountain. Jeffco rivals Evergreen, Conifer and Golden were all ranked in the top-4 in the preseason rankings.
“It’s going to be a tough season going into our league season,” Ossello admitted. “But these girls are hungry. We have a tough road ahead, but we are ready.”
It will be a quick season for girls lacrosse. The regular season goes for just six weeks and the playoff extend into mid-June for the Season D.
“It’s been tough with the season splits and kids in dual sports. And kids in quarantines over and over, ” Riecke said. “Being about to get out here is a huge success. We are doing what we can with what we have. We are excited.”