Back on April 18, the Hood River Valley lacrosse team seemingly had its first-ever state playoff berth all sewn up.
But three straight Columbia Division losses put the Eagles in a must-win situation for Friday’s final regular-season game against Wilson — a team that was nipping at their heels after winning three straight.
But the Eagles weren’t concerned.
Instead of panicking, HRV (8-6 overall, 6-4 league) showed that it was already in prime playoff form, putting together one of its most complete games of the season to win the game, 15-4.
“The Wilson game went exactly the way the seniors wanted to finish, with all of them contributing to a great win,” coach Mac Jackson said. “Our last two games have been great, and we have taken total control, which should prepare us well for the playoffs.”
Jackson’s Eagles were scheduled to host Lake Oswego on Tuesday night at Henderson Stadium, but results were not available at press time. The Lakers had beaten HRV 18-15 earlier in the season, but the Eagles felt like they should have won that game.
“If we were playing defense like we are now, we wouldn’t have lost to Lake Oswego the first time around,” senior middy Tyler Monzie said after a recent game. “Our goalie (Sean Jennings) was still getting used to the position, and they wouldn’t score that much on him now.”
With any luck, HRV could be playing in round two Thursday night at Sheldon High School in Eugene. The Irish stands at 14-3 overall, and won the Willamette Division with a 12-0 record.
But HRV is no stranger to the state’s elite teams, having played undefeated Oregon Episcopal School twice and defending state champion Lakeridge once.
“Our game is continuing to strengthen, and the timing couldn’t be better as we head into the playoffs,” Jackson said. “Our midfielders work as hard as anyone and our defense has been a force. Plus, Sean Jennings just keeps getting better with every game.”
Jackson was highly complimentary of his 15 seniors, who accounted for all 15 goals in Friday’s win over Wilson.
Jon Munk led the way with five goals and two assists, Monzie pitched in four goals, while Todd Anderson and Jacobe Krizman each had three goals and one assist.
Defenders Nate Dethman, John Thatcher, Todd Shypertt, Noel Thomas and Jared Gidley completely shut down the Trojans’ attack, while Jennings cleaned up the mess around the goal.
Fellow seniors Justin Wiley, Will Galvin and M.D. Low also did their part in the midfield, along with sophomore Kyle Zuercher, who was filling in for injured seniors Corey VanDlac and Corey Olsen.
“It was great to see us continue to put it to them without any letups,” Jackson said. “Our offense put the ball in the net with every opportunity, and we completely took them out of their game.”
Wilson (5-9 overall, 4-6 league) had recently beaten Lincoln twice, and also played Grant tough on May 1, losing 12-9. HRV finished as the second seed when Grant lost to Lincoln 7-5 last Friday.
Also of note, HRV’s JV team won its sixth straight game by a 9-0 count over Wilson, moving to 8-4 on the season.