No. 2 Evergreen girls lacrosse wins 7th in a row to claim league crown

LAKEWOOD — Evergreen’s girls lacrosse team remained as hot as the artificial turf field at Trailblazer Stadium late Thursday afternoon.

The Cougars — No. 2 in the Class 4A girls lacrosse rankings — won their seventh straight game with a 13-8 victory over rival Green Mountain. Evergreen (7-2, 5-0 in 4A West League) also wrapped up the conference title with the league win over the No. 5 Rams (7-3, 3-2).

Evergreen junior Maddie Cortez (10) and senior Maddie Mancini (11) battle with Green Mountain sophomore Sophie Warren (0) for a loose ball Thursday at Trailblazer Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“It’s really special. We’ve had a great season,” Evergreen coach Rachel Sanford said of the undefeated league record. “We’ve faced some top competition in our league, so we are happy with the success.”

Green Mountain could have created a three-way tie for the conference title with a win over Evergreen. The Rams held a 4-3 lead late in the first half, but Evergreen sophomore Averi Gardner scored with 55 seconds left before halftime to gain some momentum.

The Cougars preceded to score 5 unanswered goals to take a 8-4 lead in the first 10 minutes into the second half.

“It was a big goal of our’s today to have a strong second half. We have been flat the last couple of games,” Sanford said. “We had lot of people come up big and we did great on the draws.”

Evergreen sophomore Averi Gardner (12) races toward the front of the net that is guarded by Green Mountain sophomores Louisa Steinbock (13) and Gina Meyer (20) during the first half Thursday at Trailblazer Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Senior Margo Miller, along with sophomores Bella Reece and Gardner combined for all 13 of Evergreen’s goals.

“It was huge,” Miller said after her 6-goal performance to lead the Cougars. “I’m a senior and I’ve never won league. I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with any other team. Everyone came together this year.”

Evergreen’s defense was solid in front of Evergreen senior goalie Lauren Spence. Green Mountain junior Shea Murphy led a comeback attempt for the Rams in the final 8 minutes. Murphy scored a team-high 5 goals to get Green Mountain as close as 10-7 with 3:31 left.

However, Miller and Gardner scored three straight goals in the final minutes to get the lead back to a comfortable margin.

“She (Miller) is a tremendous player and leader,” Sanford said. “She really puts the team on her back a lot, but we have a lot of other threats. It’s really a nice rounded offense.”

Evergreen sophomore Bella Reece (3) protects the ball while getting checked by Green Mountain junior Shea Murphy (19). (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Evergreen has one more non-league game at Arapahoe on Tuesday, June 15, before the Cougars find out where they will be seeded for the 12-team state tournament. Evergreen should get a very high seed. The Cougars were No. 5 in the RPI standings before the victory against Green Mountain.

“We are looking forward to hosting,” Sanford said of the postseason. “It’s going to be fierce. We are looking forward to competing and playing our best.”

Evergreen’s boys lacrosse team also went undefeated winning the first league title in the program’s history this Spring 2021 season.

“The guys are having a great season too,” Miller said. “It would be pretty cool for both of us to go really far in the playoffs.”

Green Mountain could also make history if it earns the program’s first playoff bid. The Rams were No. 8 in RPI before the loss to Evergreen. First-round playoff games are scheduled for Thursday, June 17, after brackets are released Wednesday, June 16.

Green Mountain junior Shea Murphy, middle, tries to work past Evergreen's Carly Poole (8), Maddie Cortez (10) and Margo Miller (7) during the first half Thursday. Murphy had five goals for the Rams, but it wasn't enough as the Cougars took a 13-8 victory. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)