Junior attack-man Taylor Cramer sunk back-to-back goals to kick the Hood River Valley High School varsity boys lacrosse team into gear Friday night in the season-opener against the 6A Three Rivers division Pioneers.
The 7-6 loss came after a sluggish offensive start that saw the Eagles down 2-0 at halftime. Cramer, who had a hat trick on the night, sparked the late-game comeback that helped bring the team to within striking distance of a tie as time ran out. Freshman midfielder Kiel Sorenson had two goals in the rally, while senior Jesse Lee had a goal and an assist and senior attack-man Brendan Kerr had two assists.
“Our defense was solid all game; it just took a while to get our offense going,” coach Jon Munk said. “We had a good chance to tie the game with 30 seconds left. Kiel (Sorenson) ripped a shot that unfortunately found a defenseman in the way. Oregon City recovered the ball to run the clock out.”
Munk said he has high expectations for this year’s team and that he’ll look to senior defensemen to provide leadership and lead by example through the season. Anchoring the backfield will be senior defenders and captains Austin Kiyokawa and Joey Hall. Jesse Lee, also a senior, and junior Taylor Cramer are midfield and attack captains.
“We’re pretty well-rounded as far as talent this season,” Munk said. “We’ve got strong players at every position. Depth is a little bit of an issue, but we’re building on that. Our numbers this season are much better than last year, so I’m expecting improvement in the program as we move forward. We also have some guys who have played through the off-season and that’s going to make a big difference. It’s pretty easy to tell who has kept their skills sharp and who is still trying to brush off the rust from not playing since last season.”
The team plays 16 games between now and mid-May, with six of them at home. League matchups start in about a month and are against Central Catholic, Cleveland, Oregon Episcopal School, Grant, Lincoln and Wilson. Last season ended with a disappointing 8-5 loss against Wilson that knocked the Eagles out of a state playoff berth. The 7-7 overall and 1-4 Columbia Conference record is something Munk expects to improve upon this season.
“We’ve got the talent; it’s going to be a matter of playing our game, not our opponents’,” Munk said. “Our strategy is to possess the ball. We need to keep the ball, keep our rhythm and wear down their defense until we can score. If we can do that I think we’ll do pretty well.”
Oregon City highlights
Taylor Cramer: 3 goals, 1 assist
Brendan Kerr: 2 assists
Jesse Lee: 1 goal, 1 assist
Kiel Sorenson: 2 goals
Scheduled home games
(6:30 p.m. at HRVHS football field)
March 22 vs. Westview
April 2 vs. Hermiston
April 23 vs. Central Catholic
May 7 vs. Grant
May 15 vs. Wilson