4A girls lacrosse: Evergreen, Castle View to meet in first 4A title game

HIGHLANDS RANCH — Four teams met up at Shea Stadium on Monday evening to decide which two programs would have the honor of playing in Colorado's first ever Class 4A girls lacrosse state championship. By the time the stadium lights were shut off, top-seeded Evergreen and No. 10 Castle View had punched their ticket to the new classification's inaugural title game.

The Cougars and Sabercats will square off for the 4A trophy on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.

(1) Evergreen 17, (5) Thompson Valley 5

There were nerves, but Evergreen’s girls lacrosse team projected complete confidence during the program’s first state semifinal game Monday night at Shea Stadium.

“I have lot of faith in this team. Everyone worked together,” Evergreen senior Kate Nierenberg said after the Cougars’ 17-5 victory over Thompson Valley punched their ticket to Wednesday’s Class 4A state championship game at Legacy Stadium in Aurora. “To have a running clock before halftime was pretty great.”

Evergreen senior Margo Miller (7) spins away from Thompson Valley sophomore Rachel Shannon (6) during the first half Monday night at Shea Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Nierenberg and sophomore Bella Reece had four goals each for the No. 1-seeded Cougars. Senior Margo Miller and sophomore Averi Gardner poured in three goals each.

“We have a lot of offensive threats,” Evergreen coach Rachel Sanford said of Evergreen having four different multiple goal scorers against Thompson Valley (10-3). “They really moved the ball well and shot well. I’m proud of the chemistry of the team looking for one more pass.”

Evergreen (10-2 record) actually induced a running clock with 2:09 left in the first half when senior Carly Poole scored to give the Cougars a 12-2 lead.

Senior Lauren Spence — who has signed to play women’s lacrosse at Loyola University Maryland — was stellar in net facing the Eagles’ Carr sisters. Sophomore Aidan Carr and freshman Rory Carr had combined for 89 goals so far this season.

“They (Thompson Valley) has some very good shooters,” Spence said. “The Carr sisters are very good. I was ready for those.”

Evergreen hasn’t allowed double-digit goals by an opponent since the Cougars’ opening season loss to ThunderRidge. The Cougars actually started the season 0-2 with losses to ThunderRidge and Fairview.

“She (Spence) is just incredible,” Sanford said. “She is so fast and her decision making is amazing.”

The Cougars will enter Wednesday’s title game on a 10-game winning streak.

“It’s really exciting,” Sanford said of the Cougars headed to the title game against the winner of Castle View and Grand Junction that played in the night cap at Shea Stadium. “I hope we bring it like we did tonight.”

Thompson Valley sophomore Aidan Carr (26) gets pressure from Evergreen senior Carly Poole (8) and sophomore Averi Gardner (12) during the Class 4A girls lacrosse state semifinal Monday night at Shea Stadium in Highlands Ranch. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

(10) Castle View 17, (3) Grand Junction 4

The 2020 season was canceled on the same day the Castle View girls lacrosse team was scheduled to play its first game last spring, which was meant to be filled with excitement surrounding the first season of Class 4A girls lacrosse in Colorado.

Just over a year later, the Sabercats are making up for lost time in a big way.

With the shot to play in an historic title game on the line, the Castle View girls lacrosse team didn't take any chances in securing its spot against Grand Junction on Monday night. The 10th-seeded Sabercats (8-5) raced out to an early lead over the higher-seeded and unbeaten No. 3 Tigers (11-1) at Shea Stadium and powered their way to a 17-4 semifinal victory.

On Wednesday night, the Sabercats will have a chance to become the first 4A state champions in Colorado history.

"It was devastating," Castle View head coach Samantha Silverman said. "It happened right as we were getting ready to play. We actually had a lot of freshmen on our team last year and they never got to play. So to come out this year and make it all the way to the championship game is extremely exciting.

"We are super excited. It feels great and not having a season last year, coming together as a team this year was really special to make it happen. It was awesome."

In the state championship game on Wednesday, Castle View will play No. 1-seeded Evergreen at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.

(Brad Cochi/CHSAANow)