Palmer gave up three goals in the final 3:40, blew a two-goal lead with 4:39 to play, and missed a great opportunity to defeat last year's conference boys' lacrosse champs.
But the Terrors were anything but downtrodden after the 9-8 come-from-ahead loss to Rock Canyon on Friday night at Garry Berry Stadium.
The team that sports just four seniors on its 26-man roster and was missing its top goal scorer viewed the loss as a major lesson for the young squad.
"They're a good team," said sophomore Carter Jensen, whose third goal put the Terrors up 7-5 with 7:34 to play. "We're a young team and we're just going to get better. I think we can handle it next year."
Over the last seven minutes, the Terrors were outscored 4-1. Rock Canyon attacker Conrad Coppage notched his fifth goal of the game to match his season total and tied the score at 8. Less than a minute later, Colton Jackson scored his first of the game to give the Jaguars (3-2 overall, 2-0 Douglas County League) the win.
Jensen did his part with the hat trick and assist. Chip Cipoletti scored a pair, including the goal that gave the Terrors their last lead at 8-6. But missing due to illness was Noah Smith and his team-leading eight goals, which could have made a difference against a team that beat the Terrors by 11 last season.
"It's just a great feeling to come this close," Jensen said.
While Palmer (2-2, 1-1) won a number of draws early in the game, they struggled down the stretch; evidenced by the Jaguars' three-goal span that saw them go from trailing 8-6 to leading 9-8 in 52 seconds.
"Lacrosse you can keep scoring, getting the ground balls and possessing the ball, that's kind of the game," Palmer coach Sequoia Bowan said. "They had some great shots that went in and they got some great players."
The seesaw game stayed close early thanks to Palmer goalie Caleb Espinoza. The standout sophomore stopped seven shots, most of those in a short span that kept the game tied at 1.
"Last year, we lost 15-4 to them," said Espinoza, a second-team all-conference player last year as a freshman. "We played our hearts out and I think that's something to look positive to and really improve on throughout the season; hopefully make the postseason."