ENGLEWOOD — It was only fitting that the top two teams in boys lacrosse went to overtime Tuesday night at Randy Penn Stadium, as both Valor Christian and Mountain Vista searched for its first Class 5A state title. Storming back from multiple-goal deficits for both programs seemed to be standard operating procedure for a chaotic close to the lacrosse season.
In the end, somebody had to end it, and it was Mountain Vista junior midfielder Dillon Pless. After a timeout, he was able to create space through a hitch move to gain separation and scored 3:17 in to overtime to give the Golden Eagles (10-2) a stunning 10-9 win over the Eagles. Caleb Bonjean was credited with the assist.
Valor Christian (11-2) mounted a frantic comeback and outscored the Golden Eagles 4-1 in the fourth quarter to force overtime, as Gunnar Fellows and Jake Likes each scored twice.
Not to be done though was the Golden Eagles’ third-quarter offense. After falling behind 5-3, Mountain Vista did not panic. Instead, they played succinct, efficient lacrosse, scoring three goals in four minutes to take a 6-5 lead and added two more before the quarter came to a close.
“We’ve been in these types of games a few times before tonight,” Pless said. “We just had to keep playing Vista lacrosse. Execution was the biggest thing for us and we ended up pulling it out.”
While the thrilling goals came in the second half, the first was a defensive battle. Neither team was able to find the opening goal in the first quarter, and it was not until 37 seconds into the second that Valor Christian got on the scoreboard first with a close-range shot from Jake Ward that went without an assist. The Eagles took a 3-1 lead, with goals 15 seconds apart from each lead before Vista responded with two of its own to make it 3-3 at halftime.
For Mountain Vista head coach Matthew Plitnick, he was pleased with the response from his team, but knew there was a long way to go before anything would be decided.
“It was just two heavyweights throwing punches,” Plitnick said. “We knew that tying it before the half was going to be huge, and even after we took the lead in the third they would have a response. … The best part is that it was our third overtime, so we knew we could handle it and they were calm and delivered.”
Pless’ goal capped a dramatic ending to the season after Cheyenne Mountain scored in the final minute of the 4A title game to beat Evergreen.
Valor Christian 0 3 2 4 –0 — 9
Mountain Vista 0 3 5 1–1 — 10
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