Although the Three Sisters Trophy game has always been close over the years, it can’t get any closer than the final minute and a half of this …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
Although the Three Sisters Trophy game has always been close
over the years, it can’t get any closer than the final minute and a
half of this year’s match up.
After being down earlier in the game, Arapahoe High School girls
lacrosse managed to catch up to cross-town rivals
Heritage-Littleton May 4 at Littleton Public Schools Stadium.
The game, tied at 13, came down to which team would get the
final draw with 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining. The Warriors won
the draw, but the Gryphons’ defense and goaltender Jenna Pauline
kept them out of the cage until the end of regulation.
Unfortunately, there would be no overtime period to determine a
victor, because this season Arapahoe moved into a different league,
making the Three Sisters match-up a nonconference game.
“A tie shows we had the discipline to come up with the ball and
hold it until the last 15 seconds,” Arapahoe coach Katherine Peska
said. “That was exactly what I asked them to do, and that’s exactly
what they did, cause they wanted one more shot to go off on our end
of the field. A tie for this game is important, cause you never
know what’s going to happen in this game. Everyone is just out to
leave it all on the field, both teams.”
Last year, the two teams met each other in a double-overtime
finale. Although both teams and spectators would liked to have seen
a decided winner, players appeared to be accepting of the
“It’s all in good fun,” said the Gryphons’ Liz Datino, who
finished with four goals and one assist. “Both teams are very
hardworking. Both teams are very good. Even though the outcome
would have been so much more exciting, that’s fine. That’s how
things turn out. We know how to expect it and move forward.”
Anna Salemo also had four goals and one assist for
Arapahoe’s Megan O’Donnell, who booked three goals and one
assist, said the Warriors look forward to the Three Sisters game
more than any other of the season, regardless of record, and a tie
was very fitting for the teams’ history.
“No matter how the teams come into this season, it’s always even
playing field went it comes to this game,” O’Donnell said. “[We’re
showing] teamwork and hustle and playing smart. Everyone has the
heart by now, but now we have to think, and it becomes more of a
mental game at this point.”
Gryphons coach Nikki Kucharski said she feels the players may
have been waiting for overtime, since the fact that there would be
no overtime period wasn’t made clear to them prior to the game.
“I think they were expecting that overtime. We didn’t make that
clear,” she said. “That’s why the girls didn’t appear
Heritage-Littleton had another close game earlier in the season
when the team defeated Mullen in the final second. However, Datino
said these close games, especially against Arapahoe, only lights a
fire under the team.
And at the right time, too, with playoffs starting shortly. Last
year, the Gryphons made the state championship game and finished as
“We want to go back into the playoffs, knowing that we can beat
teams like the Arapahoes and the Mullens; all the hard working
teams we feel better about beating,” Datino said. “If we meet
[Arapahoe] again, it will be even more exciting, and we’ll get to
meet them in overtime if it comes to that.”
The Warriors’ Stacey Birlson had three goals and two assists in
the rivalry game. Stephanie Curtis had three goals and one assist.
Samantha McCurdy also had a hat trick. Jen Weidner was in the
Arapahoe may look to focus on fundamentals and its mental game,
going into the playoffs, O’Donnell said, since the team has jelled
well over the past weeks. She said the Warriors’ opponents know
their strength and know they play 100 percent every game.
In the playoffs, O’Donnell said she personally hopes to get
another crack at Chaparral.
“Outside of H-L, I think we’d like to play Chaparral again,” she
said. “I think that was a game we wanted to play differently, and
we expected it to come out different.”
Peska said the key to Arapahoe’s success is how tough it is to
defend them, given how every player works on every position in
practice and getting her scorers to spread out on offense.
“If you only have two top scorers, then you are much easier to
defend,” Peska said. “Even my defenders know how to shoot, cause
you never know when they could get an 8-meter. … I can’t have my
low defender on an 8-meter, and she’s never shot before.”
One reason the Three Sisters game is consistently close is the
fact that the girls from both teams have grown up playing each
other and know how to defend each other.
“Arapahoe and H-L players have grown up playing together, so
having a tie with this team makes sense,” Kucharski said. “I think
this crew that we have always keeps things close no matter
The Gryphons coach feels the intensity from the rivals game
should help them in the post-season. Every game, H-L discovers how
good they are and the connections they can make in the midfield,
“They learned a lot from this game, and also they got their
desire and intensity even higher,” she said. “It’s definitely not
going to go against us, going into the playoffs. This [tie] is
probably going to help, if anything.”
“If we meet [Arapahoe] again, it will be even more exciting, and
we’ll get to meet them in overtime if it comes to that.”
Liz Datino, Gryphons captain
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.