BROOMFIELD — In what is going to be a year of firsts, Tuesday’s was the one many around the Holy Family lacrosse program didn’t want to come.
After two years of undefeated junior varsity play to get ready for their inaugural varsity campaign — that started 3-0 — the Tigers got their first taste of defeat.
Mountain Range jumped out to a 4-0 first quarter lead and the Tigers spent the rest of the game playing catch up. The Mustangs (4-2), a conglomeration of four 5A Adams 12 schools to pull from, eventually won 9-6.
“Three seasons to this point without a loss is kind of crazy when you think about it,” said Tigers coach Kyle Doner, whose team dropped to 3-1 overall. “As a coach, you always want them to see a loss and feel what it feels like, so two seasons without that, they kind of get complacent and think every game is going to be given to them.
“It’s not like we’ve had a lot of close games, so these games are good and they are necessary and they know (now) that a perfect season is hard to come by.”
The problem early on for the Tigers was possession. The Mustangs were winning draws, but weren’t able to capitalize for the first six minutes.
Then the floodgates opened.
Mountain Range scored three goals in just over 100 seconds and put the Tigers in a hole that they hadn’t seen before.
“We came out tired and flat. Even in warm-ups, we just weren’t talking,” Doner said. “Guys just need to get loud. I say, who is going to be the spark plug and the sparks just weren’t catching fire.”
It wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that the Holy Family offense finally solved the Mustangs defense. Braeden Peters connected with Trace Norwell on a nifty give-and-go to finally break the ice.
The duo hooked up again just before halftime to go to the break down 5-2 and there was the sense that the comeback was inevitable.
It became more of a reality, when Peters made it 5-3 with a rocket from long range early in the third quarter.
But that would be as close as the Tigers would get.
Mountain Range scored four consecutive goals, including three from Jack Smith, to make it a 9-3 game with under eight minutes to play.
“Sometimes guys just have to make plays and that’s all it comes down to, just make an athletic play,” Doner said. “That can create momentum.
The Tigers scored three times in the waning moments — one more from Peters and two from Norwell (including on a two-man advantage) — but it was too little too late.
Holy Family will have to have a short memory, with a big game against Dawson on Thursday.
“This will be one of the best film (sessions) we have had, and seeing yourself mess up is one of the best things you can do, so you don’t make the same mistake twice,” said Doner, whose team will wrap up the week with another game against Boulder on Saturday. “That has to be the focus moving forward because we have a big week ahead of us.”
MOUNTAIN RANGE 9, HOLY FAMILY 6
Mountain Range (4-2) 4 1 2 2 – 9
Holy Family (3-1) 0 2 1 3 – 6
Goals — MR: Jack Smith 3, Ryan Reffel 2, Jack Colwell, Travis Hitt, Kaden Shepherd, Jake Doyle; HF: Trace Norwell 3, Braeden Peters 3.
Assists — MR: Shepherd, Jack Colewell; HF: Peters, Norwell.
Goalies (Min.-GA-Saves) — HF: Jack Bertagnolli (48-9-4).