In a Columbia River Conference boys varsity lacrosse action Friday versus the Oregon Episcopal Aardvarks, the Hood River Valley Eagles lost a tough 13-5 at-home matchup with one of the best teams in the state.
OES, ranked sixth and a 2011 state playoff quarterfinalist, broke free of the Eagles in the second half of the match, running from a three-goal to an eight-goal lead by the end of the third quarter.
HRV (1-2, 5-6), guided by coach Jon Munk, faces another powerhouse squad in its next contest when they’ll host the No. 2 ranked defending state champion, Lincoln, Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Henderson Community Stadium.
The Eagles then conclude the regular season with a May 14 matchup in Portland against the Wilson Trojans (3-2, 8-5).
They (OES) are definitely one of the top teams in the state,” said Munk. “They have highly skilled players who use their sticks well and it’s obvious that their kids play lacrosse all year around. So far, they’re the best team that we’ve played this season.”
OES jumped out to an early 2-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Sophomore midfielder Tony Cohn connected on a shot for the Eagles, keeping the margin to 2-1 before OES responded with another goal for a 3-1 edge after the opening period.
“We were hoping to avoid falling behind early and we really didn’t want to give up those quick goals like that,” said Munk.
Senior midfielder Andrew Thompson, who had 13 shots in the game, scored the first of his three-goal hat trick with 8:13 left in the second period, making it 4-2. Thompson fired in another shot at the 3:51 mark to help keep the Eagles within striking distance, trailing 5-3.
“They (OES) are always one of the best teams in our league,” said Thompson, HRV’s leading scorer with 25 goals. “We’ve had a good rivalry with them, but it seems like they usually get a win against us. We beat them (a 6-5 HRV win May 13, 2010) two years ago, so we always feel like maybe we’ll have a chance against them. It would’ve been a huge upset though if we had won today.”
The Aardvarks doubled their slim lead with two late first-half goals, including one with just five seconds left in the quarter to take a 7-3 halftime lead.
“Andrew found the back of the net and he helped carry the team,” Munk said, “Forrest Broddie (six ground balls) played really well, too. Andrew does it all, including playing tough defense and doing all the face-offs.
“We’re really starting to improve defensively. The guys realize that everyone has to work together as one unit on defense in order for us to be successful,” Munk said.
The Aardvarks stepped up the intensity level in the third, scoring often to build a 12-4 lead before the Eagles had a chance to answer abck.
“They (OES) came out and played really hard in the third and they got some calls in their favor too,” said Thompson, who led HRV in scoring last year with 40 goals and earned a 2011 First Team All League MIdfielder Award. “They had some lucky goals when the ball bounced off of Malcom McCurdy (HRV goalie) and into the net, which wasn’t really his fault. He did a great job. We just had some unlucky turn of events that enabled them to build a big lead.”