By ADAM LAPIERRE
News staff writer
May 27, 2006
In a game that would reach double overtime, the Eagles trailed for three quarters, made a comeback in the fourth and defeated the South Salem Saxons 10-9 on their home turf Wednesday night.
Last season, the Hood River Valley High School lacrosse team faced South Salem in the state playoffs. After leading for most of the game, the Saxons made a fourth-quarter comeback to win the game 7-6 and end the season for the Eagles.
The two teams met again at the beginning of this spring, and again South Salem slipped away with a 7-6 victory.
That would not be the case for a third time in a row, however, as the Eagles traveled down the valley Wednesday for a shot to make the ranks of Oregon’s top eight teams and advance to the state quarterfinals.
“It was a sweet victory,” Coach Mac Jackson said. “Especially after they came back last year in the same playoff game to beat us. Once a team goes through what this team has gone through, you’re changed, you know and believe you can come back and win in the clutch. This is a great team.”
The Eagles trailed from the opening of the first quarter until midway though the fourth. But they never gave up. They answered each Saxon goal with one of their own to stay within a couple goals, and within comeback distance, of the Willamette North League’s number-one team.
“We’ve just been playing with a lot of heart lately,” said senior Tony Guisto. “It feels great, especially in the last few games because we have come out hard and played really well.”
Guisto, who typically plays longstick middie, and the rest of the defenders had their work cut out for them, as the Eagles were called for 16 penalties to South Salem’s five. Most of Hood River’s penalties were in the second half, meaning they played the equivalent of about a quarter man-down.
In one of the best defensive showings of the season, the Eagles allowed only two goals in the 16 man-down situations.
“At the beginning of the year people talked like we didn’t even have a chance of making the playoffs,” said senior defender Tom Wanzek. “We’re a young team, but we figured out that we have to work hard, and if we do we will do well. We have some skill, but we have a lot of heart.”
Hard work and heart helped the Eagles stick together in the fourth quarter. Down 8-5 with only five minutes left in the game, the Eagles’ season looked like it was coming to a close.
Erik Tedford fed Alex Evans on the crease to bring the score to within two. Then Ian Bohince, who would finish the night with a team-high four goals, nailed two clutch shots in the final minutes to tie the game 9-9 and keep the Eagles alive for overtime.
The first overtime was nerve-racking. With several close calls, neither team was able to score, forcing a second do-or-die period.
“I was really nervous,” said goalie Dustyn Lyons, who finished the game with a 12 saves. “If the ball came on my end of the field, it was all on my back. I was definitely relieved when the ball went to their end.”
The game-winning goal came as the Eagles worked the ball upfield. Henry Hunt passed to Paul Spaulding, who found a lane, drove through, and took South Salem’s goalie one-on-one.
“It was a sweet feeling,” Spaulding said about scoring the winning goal. “I kind of thought we were going to lose in the fourth quarter so it was a big relief, especially because we beat the team that beat us last year.”
The win advanced the team to Oregon’s top-eight and to the state quarterfinals, where they played Lakeridge, the defending state champions, at Lakeridge last night. Results from that game will be provided in Wednesday’s Hood River News.
Ian Bohince 4 goals
Alex Evans 2 goals, 2 assists
Paul Spaulding 3 goals
Will Kline 1 goal
Henry Hunt 2 assists
Jacob Bohince 1 assist
Erik Tedford 1 assist