By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
March 14, 2007
Hood River Valley High School lacrosse coaches have been working for several years to build up their program, and this year all the pieces are starting to come together.
On the boys’ side the team has a hard-hitting defense and an efficient offense that it hopes will carry it deep into the playoffs. On the girls’ side, the team is now playing at the JV club level and players are building experience to take the team to the next level.
Boys’ coach Mac Jackson believes this year’s squad is the most ready for the season out of any previous squad.
“I’m expecting a good year,” he said. “We return a lot of good players.”
The team, which opened its season Tuesday afternoon, is led by a senior group that has now been playing together for six years, and who are ready to prove that Hood River belongs among top-tier Oregon schools in lacrosse.
“The seniors have been playing together since seventh grade,” senior Ian Bohince said. “We mesh well as a team.”
The team’s defense has made huge strides in the off season, and will be anchored by seniors Jon Wadman and Jon Ing as well as sophomore Dustin Lyons in goal.
Bohince will handle the face offs and Paul Spaulding will lead the offense with the ability to hits shots from the left and right sides.
Jackson is expecting the defense to up big for the Eagles this season.
“That whole unit is coming along,” he said. “We have a lot more experience.”
Bohince and Wadman are two of the senior leaders on the team, and both agree that the team is more prepared for the season than ever before.
“I’ve been on varsity four years and we mesh better than any previous team and our offense is looking pretty dang good,” Bohince said.
Both players are also impressed with how the offense is coming along, and feel that its development will be important to the team’s success this year.
“A good offense makes it easier for the defense to get the ball out quickly and calms the team down,” Wadman emphasized.
The Eagles will be facing some of the top teams in the northwest this season, including a two-game swing to Seattle for a pair of games next week. Jackson wants to see his squad rise to the challenge to prove that it deserves to be ranked with the best.
“Our goal this year is to be a top level team and play top level lacrosse,” Jackson said.
Across the fields at Westside School, coach Margaret Koenig is working to get her team in top shape.
The Hood River Valley girls are a club team playing at the JV level, with a mix of experienced players and players who are trying the game for the first time.
The experience levels, plus the fact that the program has over 20 players vying for playing time on one team, presents unique challenges for Koenig and the Eagles.
“I have a big squad and will have to rotate players to give them all playing time,” Koenig said. “I’m looking to build a program.”
The Eagle girls begin their year today with a skirmish against Tigard.
Likely standouts for the team this season will be a pair of freshmen, Morgan Nance and Audrey Mallon, who both bring experience and athleticism to the team.
“(They) are very good and have worked really hard,” Keonig said. “I’m really looking for freshmen to be leaders.”
Even though the team still has a lot of work to do to establish itself, Koenig is excited with the way the game has taken hold in Hood River, and looking forward to what the future brings.
“I’m excited,” Koenig said. “It’s going to be fun on Wednesday.”
Whether players have never picked up a stick or have several years of experience, Hood River Valley lacrosse is here to stay, and the athletes taking the field make it clear they plan on making opponents remember that.
“We’ve got a hard-hitting defense and I hope we can keep that up,” Wadman said. “We are playing for keeps.”