Lobos run past Cougars

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By Dan Johnson

LAKEWOOD — If you’ve watched the Conifer girls lacrosse team play, you know one thing clearly: No one can run with Kelly Vaggalis.

Get the sophomore the ball and look out. She’ll run all the way from her defensive end into the offensive zone, rip a shot towards the goal, likely score and then prepares to do the same thing again and again.

Evergreen saw Vaggalis routinely burn past them on April 23 in the teams’ game at Trailblazer Stadium. Vaggalis scored six goals and handed out two assists as the Lobos won going away, 17-4.

“It feels good. We wanted it so badly,” Vaggalis said. “We were so fired up on the bus coming down here that we took all that energy into the game and it was incredible.”

Vaggalis did most of her damage in the first half, where she scored all of her goals — and also picked up a yellow card for a slashing foul. Not even five minutes into the game and Vaggalis already had a hat trick, helping Conifer jump out to a 5-0 lead.

“We’ve been talking a lot about coming out strong and keeping that momentum,” Vaggalis said. “It’s something that we’ve been struggling with, but we were really able to do it (April 23).”

After Evergreen scored its first goal to cut the deficit to 5-1, Conifer closed out the half on a 6-1 run, highlighted by three more goals from Vaggalis and strong goaltending from Holly Midcap, who had five saves in the half.

The Cougars, down 11-2 on the scoreboard, dominated the action to open the second half. They possessed the ball for what seemed like an eternity — it was close to 10 minutes — but were unable to score until Luisa LaSalle finally broke through for her second goal of the game with 14:28 to play.

Conifer’s Nicole White and Paige Robertson (four goals apiece) put any thoughts of an Evergreen rally to rest, scoring a combined four goals down the stretch.

“Our theme coming into the game was controlling possession on the attack and playing good transition defense,” Evergreen coach Alyssa Trudel said. “In the first half I thought we were looking around too much on defense and not getting after it. We’re a really young team, so hopefully these are lessons the girls will learn and carry with them as they continue in their careers.”