Girls lacrosse surprises in upset of Fruita Monument | SteamboatToday.com

Girls lacrosse surprises in upset of Fruita Monument

Austin Colbert

— Steamboat Springs High School girls' lacrosse coach Betsy Frick called it a "big surprise."

Saturday against visiting Fruita Monument at Gardner Field, the Sailors pulled one of their biggest upsets so far this season with a 9-7 win over the Wildcats.

"I'm very pleased. It wasn't a perfect game, but they definitely showed improvement," Frick said. "It was a nice upset. It was not expected. Fruita Monument came off a two-week spring break, and I suspect they underestimated us. So that's always fun."

Fruita Monument (1-2), which hadn't played since a 21-8 loss to Dakota Ridge on March 12, went 14-2 last season, including a 19-0 win over Steamboat. The squads looked evenly matched Saturday, however, with neither team being able to get more than a one-goal lead until the Sailors pulled ahead for good late in the game.

"We just played like a team, and I feel like it's all coming together," Steamboat freshman Lucy Shimek said. "A lot of our girls just seemed really pumped up at the beginning, and it's about working together and staying on top of it and focusing."

The Sailors trailed 3-2 at halftime and remained tied or within a goal late into the second half. They took their first lead, 6-5, with less than 10 minutes to play after Shimek scored off a restart only 12 seconds after junior teammate Sammy Koepfer had tied the game.

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Fruita Monument re-tied the game a few minutes later, only to have Shimek score again with 5:29 to play. She faced a double team deep within the Wildcats' zone, made a quick spin move away from the defenders and found net for the 7-6 lead.

"It felt really good. It was amazing," Shimek said of that goal, which proved to be the game winner. "It feels really good, and I'm really proud of my team for pulling this off."

Senior Becky Brown extended the Sailors' lead to 8-6 with 5:06 to play, the first multi-goal lead of the game for either team. The Wildcats got one of them back, scoring with 4:17 remaining, but Shimek put the game away with another goal as the clock rolled under the two-minute mark.

Shimek's game-high four goals were crucial, but so were the 13 saves recorded by senior goalie Brittney Starks.

"She had some critical saves. She had her best game so far this season," Frick said. "The entire time, I felt like, 'We have this. We can pull this off.' It's just a matter of not panicking."

The team continues to play with low numbers, injuries and illness contributing to the short bench. Against Fruita Monument, the Sailors had only two subs available. Even so, Steamboat was able to persevere and get its fourth win in five games.

"The players have a better sense of where they need to be and not panicking and helping each other out," Frick said. "This team has a lot of potential. If they work hard, we can surprise some other teams in the league."

Steamboat (4-3) now faces a four-game road swing, beginning at Saint Mary's Academy in Englewood on Wednesday. The Sailors then have a junior varsity-only match against Roaring Fork Friday before traveling to Aspen on Saturday.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert