“We had the momentum in the fourth quarter”
By Than Acuff
Slowly but surely the Crested Butte Titans lacrosse team is finding its groove, and over the past week the team took two more steps forward with wins over Montrose and Vanguard. The Titans remain at home this week for two more games, including a rematch with Montrose on Thursday, April 13 at 4 p.m. behind Gunnison Middle School.
After playing a JV schedule the past two years, including games with Montrose, coach Buck Seling had a good idea of what to expect from Montrose for their match on Thursday, April 6.
“We were expecting a close game,” says Seling.
The Titans came into the game full of anticipation for the match up, and pre-game energy was high as Seling got the team warmed up, including adding in a play just prior to the game.
“We had a really good warm up, they were excited to play the game,” says Seling. “We even walked through a new man-up play.”
Despite Montrose’s obvious physical advantage, Crested Butte relied on their athleticism to create opportunities. After some back-and-forth play, Crested Butte opened the scoring and tacked on a second goal to build a 2-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Crested Butte struck again early in the second quarter, but Montrose’s top attackman started finding his rhythm netting two goals. The Titans tacked on one more and held a slim 4-3 lead at halftime.
After taking a 6-4 lead in the third quarter, Crested Butte continued to build on their lead at the start of the fourth quarter as Blue Gardner scored back-to-back goals for an 8-4 lead and the Titans finished with an 8-6 win.
“We had the momentum in the fourth quarter,” says Seling. “It was hard fought and either team could have won that game.”
Ace Gaither and Brendan Hartigan joined Gardner scoring two goals each, while Riley Davis and Jack Pierson scored one goal apiece and the Titans recorded five assists on their eight goals.
“That shows good ball movement,” says Seling. “I think things are clicking.”
The Titans faced a much easier opponent when they hosted Vanguard on Saturday, April 8. Crested Butte cruised to a couple of easy wins over Vanguard last year so they knew it would be an opportunity to continue working out some kinks and getting more players involved. With that in mind, Seling laid out three objectives for his team in the game. The first was to score 15 goals, the second goal was to record a shutout and the third goal was no slashing penalties.
“They reached one of the three,” says Seling.
Crested Butte scored off the opening faceoff and stayed on the throttle scoring eight goals in the first quarter alone.
“We were able to move the ball quickly for some good goals in that first quarter,” says Seling.
Because the last thing Seling wants is to blow out an opponent, he called on his varsity players to calm things down after pulling ahead 8-0.
“I called a timeout after that eighth goal and told them to work the ball around more and be more patient,” says Seling.
The Titans listened and recorded just two goals in the second quarter, while Seling started looking to the bench and younger players to get them some varsity time. Crested Butte scored two more in the third quarter and then none in the fourth to finish with a 12-0 win.
“It gave me the opportunity to get guys out there in a game and get them some more experience,” says Seling.
Luke Walton led the Titans with six goals while Gaither scored two and tallied five assists. Fraser Birnie finished the game winning 12 of 12 faceoffs.
Looking ahead to their games this week, Seling hopes to see the varsity continue what they started over the past two games.
“Hopefully that momentum carries over,” says Seling. “These are two must wins if we want to be competitive in the league.”