April 23, 2012 Updated: July 3, 2013 at 9:37 am
MONUMENT - In hockey parlance, a goalie who is making great, acrobatic saves is referred to as 'standing on his head.” That's not really practical, or accurate, in lacrosse.
So Lewis-Palmer's Grant Osterlund will have to settle for standing on his own two feet.
The Lewis-Palmer sophomore was outstanding in goal, carrying a shutout through three quarters, as the Rangers held on for a 6-3 victory over the St. Mary's Pirates on Monday evening at Don Breese Stadium.
“Tonight, he bailed us out with a couple of close-in, huge saves,” Lewis-Palmer coach Alan Smith said. “We have all the confidence in the world. We'll give them certain shots because we know he'll save them.”
Many of those close-in saves happened in the first period as St. Mary's opened as the aggressor. Osterlund kept the game scoreless with four remarkable saves. St. Mary's goalie Kevin McGunigal also came up big, making a point-blank save.
It took a bounce shot by Lewis-Palmer's Robbie LaPorta nine minutes into the contest to finally end the scoreless tie. LaPorta made a diagonal run from the left, using the traffic in from goal as a visual screen. He found a gap 10 yards in front of the goal and launched his shot.
The gap remained one until the final 4:02 of the first half when Lewis-Palmer started posting players up far post and using inlet passes to generate close-in shots, a tactic that accounted for three goals in quick succession.
“All it was was the ball movement and the player movement,” Smith said of the rally. “That was the only difference.”
The first was scored by Tyler Pope, who received his pass from Patrick Munn. The second was by David Shaum with 1:17 with the inlet pass by LaPorta. Pope scored again with just four seconds remaining as Grant Helwig delivered a beautiful bounce pass.
“I though in the first half we played outstanding,” Smith said. “(We) possessed the ball the majority of it. The defense kept them out of the middle and kept them to far, low-angle shots.”
Lewis-Palmer added two more scores in the third period, both by LaPorta to complete his hat trick. On the first, he lowered his shoulder and bulled his way across the defensive zone before trowing in a laser top right. On the second, he took a pass from Pope and fired it in top left.
St. Mary's rallied for three goals in the final period as Tyler Anderson, Sean Scally and Cameron Hickert each scored.
“We got out of what we were doing and what was working,” Smith said. “Once we got back into that we were able to seal it off.”
The Rangers, who comprise players from Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge, improved to 8-4 overall and 3-2 in Pikes Peak Lacrosse. St. Mary's slipped to 5-6, 1-4.
Lewis-Palmer came into the game allowing just 6.5 goals per game, the third-best mark in the league. Monday's performance will only improve upon that mark.
“I don't want to sound cocky, but I feel like I did good,” Osterlund said.
It's not cocky when you've just backed it up.