As of Tuesday, April 19, 2016
One of the best starts in the history of the HRV boys lacrosse program was finally interrupted Friday night by the Sherwood Bowmen (7-4), who handed the Eagles (7-1) their first loss of the season.
And that first loss was a doozy. The Eagles lost, 16-3, in a game that was never theirs to win, confirming HRV Head Coach Matt Luchsinger’s belief that despite Sherwood’s 6-4 record heading into Friday’s road game, the Bowmen are one of the best teams in the state.
“Pretty much in the long run, (Sherwood) showed up and did exactly what we needed to do,” he explained. “They pretty much played a perfect game. They never gave us an opportunity to get in the game… They were even better than I expected and I knew they were going to be damn good too. I think we could still run with them, I think if we played them again it would be a little different, but you get one shot and the team that shows up is going to take it.”
Luchsinger said Sherwood “scouted us many times and they knew they had to slow our transition game.” The Bowmen beat HRV to ground balls, forced turnovers, and took time with their possessions, moving the ball and waiting for their shots while not allowing HRV to possess the ball, forcing their opponents to play a defensive game. Penalties were also an issue, as Luchsinger said players grew frustrated with the situation and found themselves in the box eight times Friday night.
“Lacrosse is more of a mental game than anything,” he noted. “It’s really easy for a team to get in your head and then you start making mistakes.”
In the entire game, HRV was limited to 13 shots, while Sherwood had 13 shots in the first quarter alone. The Bowmen had a total of 55 shots (not all on goal) and Jhett Chrisman, who Luchsinger said was “on fire,” made 10 saves. Mikey Hall played part of the first quarter and made one save. Alex Ellifritz led the team in ground balls, with four.
Despite the setback, Luchsinger said he was pleased with how the team played considering HRV was on the defensive side for almost the whole game.
“The team reacted really well (to the loss),” he said. “I told them not to get their heads down because that was a team that showed up and played a perfect game… they knew they got outplayed by a better team.”
The loss also hasn’t undone all the hard work the Eagles have put in this season.
“The fact that we’re 7-1, I couldn’t be happier,” Luchsinger said.
The Eagles next host Harney County’s Nadzitsaga (0-6) this Friday at 7 p.m.