Roaring Fork girls lacrosse finally earns elusive 4A playoff win, 17-4 over Fruita
Down a player, sometimes two, for most of the second half of Tuesday’s first round 4A state girls lacrosse playoff game because of penalties, the Roaring Fork Rams persevered as they have all season to win their first-ever playoff game, a 17-4 victory over Fruita-Monument in Carbondale.
The Rams entered the playoffs as the No. 16 seed in the 24-team field, determined to advance to the second round after early exits in previous years since the program began in 2019.
“It feels so good. We’ve been in the playoffs every year, but never won,” said senior goalie and team co-captain Yahjairi Castillon, who is one of the top two players in the net within the 4A ranks.
“We started the season off really strong, but lost one of our key players and had some rough games there,” Castillon said.
Roaring Fork, which combines players from four different schools — Roaring Fork, Glenwood Springs, Basalt and Colorado Rocky Mountain School — finished fourth at 5-5 in the 4A Mountain East League. But the Rams scored some key wins down the stretch to stay above .500 overall at 9-6 and made the playoffs.
Facing the No. 18 Fruita-Monument Wildcats, who were missing their senior players due to a graduation conflict with the playoff game, Roaring Fork took advantage early. Junior Angelina Montemayor found the back of the net three times, and juniors Jett Straw and Sophie Hodgson each scored twice, while freshmen Josie McKinley-Kitchell and Hailey Wolfe had a goal apiece.
By halftime, the Rams had a commanding 9-2 lead.
Penalty troubles early in the second half put Roaring Fork on the defensive, but they still only gave up two goals and managed eight more of their own behind the hot sticks of Wolfe, who added three more goals, and another pair by junior Addie Nolan.
Additional goals came from junior Maisie Smith, Ari Chacos and another by Montemayor to seal the deal.
“We have a lot of really good players, and as long as we come together as a team and remember how fun the game is, that’s when we play our best,” Castillon said.
Head coach Chelsea Robson said the team’s defense rose to the occasion when the game could have taken a turn in the Wildcats’ favor.
“Our defense did a really good job of covering and protecting the area around the goal, and by putting pressure on the other team and forcing some turnovers it went our way,” Robson said. “The offense also was able to hold onto the ball and kept scoring goals.”
Because Roaring Fork has been to the playoffs before, it was an opportunity to take it to the next level, she said.
“We really pulled together and persevered through a lot this season, with some injuries and illnesses that kept some players out,” Robson said. “Finally, we had everybody healthy for the first time all season.”
The Rams now face No. 2 Thompson Valley, which had a first-round bye, on Thursday afternoon in Loveland.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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