On to varsity play next year
[ by Than Acuff ]
The Crested Butte Titans lacrosse team finished their second season of JV competition with two wins to close out the year with a record of 12-4. The JV schedule is required by the state high school activities board and with their two-year trial now done, Crested Butte Titans lacrosse will be a varsity program in 2023.
“It was a really good finish,” says coach Buck Seling. “We won five out of six games to end off. It was a nice way to finish out the season.”
They started the final week of play on Thursday, May 5 against a JV team from Grand Junction. The Titans played Grand Junction early in the season falling 4-3 but Crested Butte had only 15 players for the game as they were still getting their feet underneath them. This time around the Titans had a full bench and rolled to a 12-0 win.
“Having our whole team there made the difference for sure,” says Seling.
The Titans started off tentative against Grand Junction taking a 2-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. They then stepped up their game to rattle off eight goals in the second quarter and finished things off with two more goals over the course of the second half while the defense held Grand Junction scoreless for their second shutout of the season. Kody Bodine led the Titans with five goals, Riley Davis recorded a hat trick while Ace Gaither had two goals and Marin Gardner and Jack Pierson had one goal each. Brendan Hartigan tallied three assists in the game.
“We dominated the entire game,” says Seling. “It surprised me a little we played as well as we did.”
The win not only earned the team a day off from practice on Friday, but built a massive amount of momentum heading into their final game of the season on Saturday, May 7 when they hosted Fruita Monument JV.
Once again, the Titans looked shaky at first but as the first quarter progressed, the Titans gathered steam resulting in three goals over a two-minute span. Pierson started it off with a solo effort from behind the goal to score, Blue Gardner picked off a clearing pass and sprinted straight to goal to score and then Gaither attacked from the wing to then find Blue open in front and Blue scored again for a 3-0 Titans lead.
Davis scored midway through the second quarter and when goalie Gavin Fischer stuffed a Fruita Monument player on the doorstep, the Titans appeared to be in complete control of the game.
But Fruita Monument battled back and scored two goals in the span of one minute looking to gain some momentum of their own. The Titans rallied to stop Fruita in their tracks though as Hartigan, Blue and Davis all scored to build a 7-2 lead by halftime.
“Once we were up 3-0 we had confidence and then it was just a matter of settling down,” says Seling.
The Titans proceeded to score two more in the third quarter as Pierson blew by two Fruita players to find an open look on net and Gaither flagged down an errant shot on the edge of the crease to stuff it home for a 9-2 lead.
Fruita scored five minutes into the fourth quarter, but Crested Butte was well in control of the game. Fischer stuffed another open look from Fruita and the Titans closed out the season, and Bodine’s high school career, in fashion with a play they’d been working on that Bodine finished off with a behind the back goal to seal the 10-3 win. Fischer finished the game with seven saves.
“We’ve been running a new offense the past three weeks and it was successful in both the Grand Junction and Fruita Monument games,” says Seling. “When you have seven assists on 10 goals it’s obvious things are working. It was the perfect day to be out there with the kids.”
The Titans will now jump into the varsity fray for the 2023 season and things are looking good for success in the Western Slope league.
“I expect big things for our team,” says Seling. “We’re going to have a lot of seniors and a lot of juniors. I’m especially encouraged by the development this past season.”