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Cheyenne Mountain girls’ lacrosse is powered by upstart Rampart

COLORADO SPRINGS — Typically, Cheyenne Mountain girls’ lacrosse got off to a quick start in the first half of its games. Against Northfield, they scored 10 of their 14 goals in the opening 25 minutes. In a win over Palmer, they scored 14 of their 21 goals in the first half.

Against Rampart, the Red-Tailed Hawks were a bit of a game-changer. They scored seven times in the first half, then added a second-half barrage to secure a 16-4 victory over the Rams at District 20 Stadium.

“It’s something we’ve been working on, playing 100 percent,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Teresa Lacayo said. “In recent games it has shown a lot, so in the future maybe we will be a second-half team.”

The Hawks (5-2 overall) got five goals from Ellie Burkett and Claire Kisielnicki during the game. Kisielnicki kicked off the second-half play-off by scoring two points within 38 seconds of each other, both of which came within the first two minutes of the second half.

Once those two got in the net, it felt like the Hawks just had a surge of momentum that they carried for the rest of the game.

“That first half really kicked up our energy,” Kiselnicki said. “It brought us together as a team and made us want to have some of these girls who didn’t have goals on the board yet. Alex (Chandler) scored his first goal of the season today and we all wanted really give him the ball.

Although the result was not what the Rams were hoping for (2-4), there is a real sense of hope within the program. They only have three seniors on the roster and a lot of impact players are underclass. Three of the four goals the Rams scored in the game came from rookie Mia Thorne or second Ava Uebelhoer.

Knowing that there is time for development, these players are doing what they can now in order to create a winning and family culture in the future.

“Hopefully we can build a good team,” Thorne said. “This year is tough because a lot of our players are first-year players. We have a lot of young players in our team. Over the next few years, if we can keep working on our fundamentals, I think we can be really good.

A lot of that is a very familiar face for the Rams. Coach Allie Popelar led Rampart to the state quarterfinals as a senior before embarking on a college career at the University of Tampa. The family atmosphere has brought her back to Rampart where she hopes to rebuild the program at a playoff level.

“We have several girls who are upper classes who came from basketball and football who are our best defenders and it’s great to have them because they are used to game situations,” Popelar said. “When we have younger girls who count all of our girls, it’s nice to have the time to train them so that by the time they’re seniors we’re more of a powerhouse. That’s the point.

The goal is going to take a little work and a little time. But Rampart went through those growing pains when Popelar was a freshman and they were a playoff team when she was a senior. She said she had a similar experience in Tampa.

She has been on the side of the players and welcomes the challenge of being on the side of the coaches.