Rising High School Notebook: Colorado Update
We landed in Colorado Monday afternoon with the plan of catching up with a whole bunch of folks in the Centennial State and to catch some games this week and get a look at some of the better teams in the Denver area.
It started Monday night with a trek down the road to Castle Rock, where we watched the Mountain Vista Golden Eagles take on the Castle View Sabrecats. Mountain Vista, a team still mourning the unexpected loss of former head coach Jake Herman, was able to overcome a hot goaltender in Castle View's Jackson Mitchell, who made 22 saves in the game. The Golden Eagles were led by North Carolina commit Colin Munro, who finished with three goals and three assists in the win.
Another team still recovering from an unthinkable loss, Castle View is the alma mater of the late Colin Brough -- a former player who was killed last fall in a tragic shooting at Arizona State. While watching the game against Mountain Vista, we were able to meet Colin's father, Doug, and it goes without saying that one of the biggest takeaways from this game is the importance of team and family.
On Tuesday night, we made our way to Littleton Stadium, where the weather was not kind to us. But after a lengthy lightning delay that came just a few minute into the game, Arapahoe and Heritage were able get back on the field and the Warriors eventually took a 18-4 win.
Here's a look at some of the players who turned heads so far on our our trip. Follow us on Twitter throughout the year as we make our way around the nation on Twitter (@3dRising) and on Instagram (@3drising).
Colin Munro, Attack/Midfield, Mountain Vista (Colo.), Jr. - North Carolina
Munro, a player we just recently highlighted after our 3d Spring Break trip, was essential to Mountain Vista's win over Castle View as he single-handedly sparked the offense when it sputtering early on, using his flare for creative shots to get things going for the Mountain Vista. He got things going by leaning into his defender, throwing a fake and then sending a sidearm shot that beat the goalie off hip. He later scored a goal that saw him split to his right in transition and throw a tricky bounce shot on the run, beating the goalie to the far post. Maybe one of his nicest goals, Munro took a pass and, almost instantly, used a hitch-like hesitation to just freeze his defender and then quickly ripped a shot that hit the bottom right corner. Running point from the midfield, he threw some great passes, including a behind-the-back pass to an open attackman and a slick underhand pass on the money to the other side of the crease. Playing in the midfield, Munro's showing his ability to make plays from various spots on the field. His vision and his awareness for opportunities continues to impress. He made a number of excellent passes to his teammates, including some passes on the money to cutters inside, but the play of Castle View's goalie prevented some of those from becoming assists.
Jake Frane, Midfield, Mountain Vista (Colo.), Jr. - Notre Dame
Frane put in a solid day of work against the Sabercats, finishing the day with a goal but showing some good things in the middle of the field. His size and acceleration make him such an imposing presence at any spot, The big man looked assertive offensively when he decided to dodge. One of his goals saw him split to his left and then come back to his right to get underneat his man and then bounce off the slide before finishing a shot from the door step. Not necessarily a draw man, he showed the abilty to scrap and use his size and strength to battle for the ball. Playing defense, he showed more grit and really did a great job of knocking dodgers off their paths and overwhelming with his ability to cover ground laterally and his power on his checks. He was able to get his stick into the ball carrier and not just try to overpower, and he helped make dodging tough for the Castle View midfield group.
Jake Harvey, Attack, Mountain Vista (Colo.), Sr.
Harvey had a good showing against Castle View, albiet probably a little frustrating at times given the play of the opposing goalie. But his abilities around the cage were on clear display as he collected Harvey is excellent off the ball and has become really dangerous floating around the crease at GLE, off to either side, but also as a player who will work really hard to get to his shot after making a catch or when working from X. He's a sturdy, thicker attackman who always has the handle of his stick above his shoulders, protecting it to the outside as he curls and rolls off his defender looking for angles. He cradles fast, he runs hard, he bounces off checks and keeps his body and arms in a loaded position to be a shooting threat quickly. He finished with a hat trick. He showed the smarts to take one of the feeds, pump a variety of fakes as he chugged his feet to a better angle and finished in front. Another of his goals saw him score off a long dodge coming right off the possession granted from a face-off win for Vista. Another saw him run through the middle of the hash marks and finish with an overhand shot. A few of his opportunities in front saw him shoot bounce shots that required great saves by the opposing goalie, who was on fire. Harvey is in position to have a productive season in the fast-paced, creative Mountain Vista offense.
Jackson Mitchell, Goalie, Castle View (Colo.), Soph.
The sophomore keeper had a terrific day against Mountain Vista, right from the start making saves against the aggressive Golden Eagles shooters and collecting a total of 22 saves throughout the day. He proved to be excellent on low, bouncing shots in front and used his quick reflexes to turn away a variety of would-be goals and keep his team within reach against Vista for a good length of the game. The righty was intense in his communication with his teammates and even to the officials as he was making his case when he burst out of the cage aggressively to back up shots. One of his best saves came when a Moutain Vista play resulted in some fast passes that produced a one-timer on the crease: Mitchell shifted as the ball moved and he was there to meet the ball with his stick. At that point, it was clear he wasn't just getting lucky. He had to get to corners to make some of the stops and he also had to stand tall in the face of some great fakes, and still got a piece of the ball. Though Castle View struggled at times with clears, it wasn't really on Mitchell, as he showed good passing throughout and was careful to keep the ball away from the slick riding Mountain Vista attackmen. Mitchell is a goalie to keep an eye on in Colorado the next few seasons.
Kai Trujillo, Attack, Castle View (Colo.), Sr. - Rockhurst
Probably one of the smallest players on the field, Trujillo was easily one of the toughest and most determined. The small, gritty righty was fearless and an offensive leader as Castle View challenged Mountain View for the majority of the game. Trujillo was key in that, running as a point man at times, including on EMO. Despite his smaller stature, he was one of the team's better dodgers. He finished the day with two goals and an assist. His first goal was a dodge from underneath GLE on which he got himself into the middle of the defense and finished with a high-to-high shot. His other goal was a take right down the gut. His assist came off a rebound that trickled behind the cage: Trujillo grabbed it and popped a pass in front of the cage for a quick goal. He sees the field and is unselfish, and really impressed with his toughness and assertiveness.
Keenan Moffitt, Attack, Arapahoe (Colo.), Sr. - Marquette
The 6-foot-5 attackman is having a great year so far, and he put up a monstrous five-goal, two-assist performance against Heritage. He is a very dangerous shooter when he can set his feet and he utilizes different release points. In transition, he's dangerous and wants the ball quick and will try to test his defender when the man comes way out on him. The big man is hard to stop once he gets moving. And he's playing like a veteran in the way he's developing chemistry with teammates and picking his chances to dodge with authority.
Keaton Komatz, Attack, Heritage (Colo.), Sr. - Notre Dame
Despite the one-sided loss, Komatz shined from the get go for Heritage as a mullt-tool lefty attackman who can dodge, shoot and use his athleticism to challenge the defense each time he carried. He had no problem getting underneath with ease and was really slick to keep the stick in the same hand (left) and pulled up quickly for a shot from the doorstep. He has snap and gets power on it in a compact release. One of his shots looked to be from about 18 yards out and he seemed to effortlessly get velocity on it and rattle the top right corner of the cage. He plays at full speed all time, and that's how he manufactured a goal against Arapahoe: creating a turnover with a furious ride and then finishing the play himself on the doorstep. He is relentless on the ride but also going after the groundball. Normally the first into the scrum, he often came out with it against Arapahoe and was doing all he could to keep the Eagles in the game.
Chase Douglas, Attack, Arapahoe (Colo.), Jr. - Air Force
In just his fourth game back after a surgery, Douglas was impressive in the win for Arapahoe over Heritage. He's got an explosive first step has laterally shiftiness that makes him a really challenging cover. Operating from X, he read his options and moved the ball in a variety of ways, hitting the backside, hitting cutters ball side and cutters down the middle. He never held it long and moved the ball fast and accurately. When he did keep the ball for more than a couple seconds, it was to dodge and he definitely drew the double to move the ball more than once. He also showed off his good hands, burying a couple of opportunities in tight quarters. He racked up three goals and five assists in the win over Heritage.