HOOD RIVER — Teams often play their best when something is on the line, whether it’s homecoming, pride or a division title.
Last Friday for the HRV lacrosse team, that something was the playoffs. And just as they needed to, the Eagles stepped up their game to an all-new level, leveling previously undefeated Lincoln 14-6.
“That was the most complete game we’ve played as a team all season,” coach Chris Kelly said. “The guys knew what they had to do and they played with focus and determination.”
But the Eagles may have poured too much heart and soul into Friday’s win, because when Saturday’s game with OES rolled around, the team couldn’t maintain the same fire as the night before, losing a close 10-8 decision.
“For some reason, we weren’t as fired up against OES,” said attacker Jon Munk, who scored four goals against Lincoln and one versus OES. “We were a little drained from the night before and couldn’t match their intensity the entire game.”
Despite the loss — the second to OES in as many weeks — HRV still has a shot at the playoffs, holding a 5-3 league record heading into Tuesday’s contest with Hermiston (results not available at press time).
And while no one is looking past the Bulldogs, every member of the HRV team will have to bring his A-game Friday for the rematch against Lincoln.
“What worries me is that Lincoln had a lot of opportunities to score on Friday that they didn’t take advantage of,” Munk said. “After we went on a run in the second half, their style kind of disintegrated.”
Like HRV, Lincoln will have something to play for Friday, as none of the top four teams is guaranteed a playoff berth. If Lincoln loses to first-place Grant this week, that would open the door for HRV to steal away their spot.
HRV, Lincoln and OES could each finish with an identical record, and the playoffs would then come down to a tiebreaker.
“This league is so balanced and any of the top four can beat one another on a given night,” Kelly said. “But the bottom line is, we have to beat Lincoln. Besides that, it’s out of our hands.”