Playoff Update: Colorado State Championships

A new state champion will be crowned in Colorado boys' lacrosse as top seed Regis Jesuit faces Kent Denver on Saturday for the coveted Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) title. Meanwhile, on the girls' side, state semifinal action gets underway this weekend ahead of next Wednesday's championship game at the University of Denver. No. 1 Cherry Creek enters as the slight Final Four favorite, while Centaurus, Kent Denver and Air Academy all remain hopeful of pulling an upset.

CHSAA Boys' State Championship: Regis Jesuit (17-1) vs. Kent Denver (14-4), Saturday, May 21

Saturday's title showdown sets up to be an intriguing match-up between a pair of traditional Colorado lacrosse powers.

No. 6 Kent Denver is riding high following its 9-5 upset win over defending champion and No. 2 seed Cherry Creek in the semifinals on Wednesday. In that contest, the Sun Devils took their game to another level and outplayed the favored Bruins for four quarters. By winning the ground ball and face-off battles, Kent Denver dominated the time of possession and went up 7-2 at intermission before cruising to the win. Midfielder Jackson Arnold led the way with three goals and one assist and attackman Bailey Tills added two scores. Goalie Sam Van Hook also proved to be a difference-maker and finished with 10 saves on the night.

The upset was nothing new for Kent Denver. The team posted another surprising result by downing No. 3 Wheat Ridge, 13-9, in the quarterfinals. Kent Denver was also the only team to beat Regis Jesuit this season after notching a 7-3 result back on April 18. The Sun Devils could make it a clean sweep of the state's top three teams should they come away victorious on Saturday. Expect Kent Denver to implement a similar blueprint used during its recent string of success.

However, Regis Jesuit will be a tall order for the Sun Devils. Behind an 11-9 win over No. 5 Arapahoe on Wednesday, the Raiders will make their second-straight championship game appearance. In last season's finale, Regis fell to Cherry Creek, 11-4. Against Arapahoe this week, the Raiders benefited from a balanced attack to take a 5-2 lead into halftime before stretching their advantage to 9-2 early in the third. Arapahoe eventually chipped away, but ultimately couldn't pull off the upset.

Meanwhile, Regis is also riding an impressive streak of late. Following the team's April loss to Kent Denver, the Raiders have won six games in a row, which include victories over Cherry Creek, a double-overtime win over Arapahoe, plus Mullen and Chaparral.

Offensively, look for Regis to put the ball into the hands of its standout players come Saturday. Midfielders Kevin Wylie and Derek Ball, plus attackmen Ryan Ball and Blake Knobloch, have all stepped up in key moments down the stretch for the Raiders. Defensively, LSM Connor Knobloch, goalie Rhody Heller and defender Tanner Ottenbreit will look to neutralize Kent Denver's dangerous offensive unit through aggressive, but disciplined play.

Saturday's state title game will be played at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City starting at 11:30 am.

Girls' Final Four: Cherry Creek Aims for 14th Consecutive Finals Appearance

While the boys' division will crown a champion on Saturday, the Colorado girls' lacrosse semifinal round gets underway this weekend.

In the first match-up of the day, top seed Cherry Creek battles No. 4 Centaurus. Cherry Creek which enters the game as the defending state champion has looked strong as ever this season. So far in the '11 postseason, the Bruins have cruised to a pair of victories, which include a 26-4 win over Golden and a 21-10 result against Columbine.

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2011-05-19



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