ENGLEWOOD — Sometimes a good old fashion tongue-lashing from the head coach isn’t a bad thing. Evergreen led its Class 4A boys lacrosse state semifinal 5-2 late in the first half against Eagle …
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ENGLEWOOD — Sometimes a good old fashion tongue-lashing from the head coach isn’t a bad thing.
Evergreen led its Class 4A boys lacrosse state semifinal 5-2 late in the first half against Eagle Valley on Saturday, June 19, at Englewood High School. However, Cougars’ coach Jay Egger was clearly not pleased with how his squad was playing. He let his team know about it when he called a timeout in the final minute before halftime.
“That first half was probably the sloppiest lacrosse Evergreen has played in a long time. I’m not sure what it was,” Egger said. “After that (timeout) talk … this team showed its resiliency and character to respond. They responded. That third quarter we turned it on.”
The No. 2-seed Cougars dominated the third quarter going on a 6-0 run and eventually cruise to a 14-5 victory over the No. 11 Eagle Valley.
“We came out kind of slow. We weren’t ready for what was coming,” Evergreen senior Ben Crosbie said about the first half. “That rain and lightning delay kind of screwed us up and then our coach got into us. Then everyone started to wake up.”
There was nearly a 90-minute lightning delay with 7:06 left in the second quarter and Evergreen holding a 3-1 lead.
The Cougars (11-1 record) regrouped and got things going in the second half to win its eighth straight game and advance to the program’s first state title game. Evergreen faces top-seeded Cheyenne Mountain (11-1) at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, back at Englewood High School for the state title.
“The team in absolutely thrilled,” Crosbie said moments after the Cougars punched their ticket to the program’s first appearance in a state championship game. “It’s going to be great.”
Cheyenne Mountain edged Erie 9-8 in the other semifinal Saturday morning at Englewood High School.
The Indians also doubled up on the Cougars in a non-league meeting back on May 24. Cheyenne Mountain took a 12-6 home victory over Evergreen.
“We played them (Cheyenne Mountain) earlier in the year and we weren’t at our best,” Egger said. “We know their reputation, but we have nothing to lose. We are going to go
out there and surprise them. In the bottom of my heart I know we can play with anyone in the state. We aren’t intimidated. We are excited. We deserve to be there.”
It will be the third straight state title appearance for Cheyenne Mountain. The Indians won their first boys lacrosse championship in 2018 with a 8-6 victory over Dawson. Cheyenne Mountain was in great shape for a repeat in 2019, but Golden roared back for a dramatic overtime victory two years ago.
There was no state champion in 2020 because of COVID-19 cancelling the entire spring season in Colorado.
“Cheyenne has always been a competitor for us,” Crosbie said. “It’s one team that we want to absolutely dominate. They have been great the past four years, but I think it’s time for us to step up.”
Crosbie stepped up with three goals against Eagle Valley. Seven different Cougars found the back of the net. Senior Jared Stiller, along with sophomores Sam Grimshaw and Nash Carroll had multiple goals in the semifinal victory.
Evergreen’s defense was stellar in front of senior goalie Andrew Morris.
“My 26 players are unbelievable. My four (assistant) coaches are unbelievable,” Egger said. “The dedication they have all committed to this season is something that love them forever.”
Senior Jack Fairbanks was key for Evergreen in the second half. Fairbanks won nearly every face-off to allow the Cougars to control possession and score 7 unanswered goals after halftime.
“Eagle Valley was beating us on face-offs,” Egger said. “I looked Jack in the eyes and said, ‘We need you.’ He stepped up and responded.”
Egger knows Evergreen must play at its top level Tuesday night at Englewood High School if the Cougars are to lift the state trophy for the first time.
“This is the first time we’ve won a conference championship. First time making the state semifinals,” Egger said. “We are making history along this journey. This program is learning too.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage go to CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.
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