Down by one goal to the Wilson Trojans midway through the fourth quarter Monday night, the Hood River Valley High School varsity boys lacrosse team had a good chance at continuing its season by advancing to a state playoff play-in round in Bend later in the week.
The effort came up just short, however, and the Eagles (1-4 Columbia Conference, 7-7 overall) watched a playoff berth slip away as Wilson (3-3, 9-6) scored two late goals to pull out an 8-5 win.
“I felt like we had a good chance to win, but things just didn’t go the way we had hoped for,” said coach Jon Munk. “We had a strong start. We were possessing well on offense and we were doing what we needed to do to maintain a lead in the first half. They (Wilson) had an offensive set play in the third quarter that we had trouble adjusting to and they scored a couple goals to get the lead.”
The Eagles took an early lead when junior Brandon Kerr and senior Andrew Thompson each scored in a time span of just 23 seconds. Kerr’s unassisted goal at the 2:17 mark was followed by Thompson’s shot off a Taylor Cramer assist, making it 2-0 with 1:54 left in the first quarter.
“I felt like we were playing pretty well, but it was too early to even think about winning, because it can go either way at that point of the game,” said Thompson, who led HRV in scoring with a total of 33 goals this season. “I had a good feeling about it, though, in the first half, but then they came out and turned things around in the second half.”
After Wilson got on the board with a goal early in the second quarter, senior Ian Hunt connected off a Thompson assist for a 3-1 HRV advantage with 2:29 left in the half. Wilson answered just 62 seconds later, trimming margin to 3-2 at halftime.
Wilson came out firing in the second half, scoring three goals in less than five minutes to take a 5-3 lead. A fourth unanswered goal gave the Trojans a three-goal lead by the end of the quarter.
“We didn't give up, so that was good to see,” said Munk. “They’re a great group of kids and they really hated to lose, but it was a good, tough battle.”
HRV responded in the fourth, with Cramer firing in a shot on an assist by Hunt, making it 6-4 as Wilson held on to a two-goal lead. Kerr fired in a big shot making it 6-5 with 8:51 remaining in the contest.
“I thought we were capable of getting another goal, but it just didn’t work out that way for us,” said Thompson.
With the clock winding down toward the 5-minute mark, Wilson capitalized on costly penalties with two Eagle players in the penalty box and the Trojans scored with a two-man advantage, making it 7-5. Wilson scored another goal in the last two minutes for the final margin.
“Our goal was to reach the playoffs and have a winning record,” said Munk. “We lost a couple of close games that we probably should’ve won, so that was a little disappointing.
“The team competed at a high level and improved from the beginning of the year. We had a great season; we won some games and everyone had a lot of fun,” Munk said.
Wilson outshot HRV 40-31 and the Trojans had 31 ground balls, while the Eagles had 24. Eagle senior goalie Malcolm McCurdy had a strong defensive effort with 10 saves. For seniors Hunt, McCurdy, Thompson, John Gray, Jonathan Goatcher, Luke Ihle, Daniel Woodrich and Miles Mayer, the game was the final outing of their high school careers.