Boys lacrosse: Fairview surging after win over Monarch

Apr. 24—Fairview lacrosse's first win over Monarch in three years was tailored in the narrative the Knights have been pushing for a while now.

A young attacking core took another step forward in its growth process, a veteran defense remained strong, and Fairview coach Matthew Kelley's team picked up a critical win for its postseason hopes, beating the Coyotes 13-8 on its home turf Wednesday night.

"There's still a lot of work to be done but moving in (the right) direction is exciting," Kelley said. "It's why we do this."

On paper, a third straight win on the season for the Knights (6-5, 3-2 5A League 2) — and first over the Coyotes (7-5, 2-2) since 2021 — should go far as they try to get back into the postseason.

They came into the night ranked 21st in 5A in CHSAA's Selection and Seeding Index, which will dictate the 24-team playoff field. And the win over No. 15 Monarch should see them push further off the bubble with only 10 days remaining in the regular season.

Bigger-picture wise, it added credence that things are continuing to come together for a program that had gone just 8-23 the past two seasons.

From last year's 12-10 loss to Monarch — when Kelley said he thought his team showed promise despite being unable to hold onto a late lead — to the recent win — which saw the Knights respond in a big way after the Coyotes scored three straight to tie things midway through the second quarter — the changes were promising.

"Playoffs is one of our biggest goals of the season," said sophomore Kai Modica, who had a hat trick before halftime, finishing with five goals a game after logging six in a win over Thompson Valley. "And we have a lot more to show."

Fellow-sophomore Kalen Carlyle also had a hat trick for the Knights' young attack, which has its coach delighted talking about its recent high-assist rate. He said the group's level of "unselfishness" is something he hasn't seen in his 23-year coaching career.

In the back, goalie Sam Rich added 12 saves as part of another standout performance in net. The last time out, on Friday, he stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced in a 10-6 win over Ralston Valley.

"I think last year's team is probably not coming out with a win in this game," Rich said. "I think we've battled so much adversity the past two years that it's really built our character up. And it's put us in position to close these games out."

Meanwhile, despite the loss, Monarch remains in very good position to get back to the postseason a year after losing a large chunk of its varsity roster, including star attackers Derek Duplechin and Graysen Jolly. Flynn Leonard and Tommy Roberts scored twice in the loss.

The Coyotes have three games remaining, starting at home against No. 13 Poudre School District on Saturday. The Knights have four, with a game at No. 24 Chatfield on Friday