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Boys lax suffers significant setback in league opener

Eagles see ‘missed opportunities’ in OT loss to Wilson

THE HRV BOYS LAX TEAM lost a heartbreaker to Wilson in the Eagles’ league debut, falling 8-7 in overtime in a game HRV Head Coach Matt Luchsinger felt the boys should have won. Above, Jackson Lebsack (white jersey) shoots from the ground to score a highlight reel-worthy goal — one of a few scored that evening.

Photo by Ben Mitchell
THE HRV BOYS LAX TEAM lost a heartbreaker to Wilson in the Eagles’ league debut, falling 8-7 in overtime in a game HRV Head Coach Matt Luchsinger felt the boys should have won. Above, Jackson Lebsack (white jersey) shoots from the ground to score a highlight reel-worthy goal — one of a few scored that evening.



Tuesday night in Hood River, the HRV boys lax team, which has been cruising along on a string of victories against nonleague opponents this season, struck an unexpected speed bump in the team’s league debut against Wilson.

The contest should have been no problem for the Eagles, who were 8-1 heading into the game and faced a team that was 5-3 and several spots lower than HRV in the Lax Power rankings. HRV, however, struggled with Wilson in a game that saw multiple lead changes and found the Eagles clinging to a one-goal lead in the first quarter. The Trojans scored the equalizer with just over a minute remaining in the game and then finished it off with a goal two minutes into overtime to win 8-7.

HRV Head Coach Matt Luchsinger was disheartened after Tuesday’s game, calling it the “worst loss” he’s had to deal with as a coach.

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‘In my opinion, we handed that game to (Wilson) on a silver platter and that hurts. That’s a dagger to the heart for me.’ -- MATT LUCHSINGER

“In the five years I’ve coached, it’s definitely hands-down the worst, because we lost to a team that we should have beat by three to six goals,” he said. “In my opinion, we handed that game to them on a silver platter and that hurts. That’s a dagger to the heart for me.”

There were a lot of things for Luchsinger to be upset about in the game, including nine penalties taken by HRV, several starters out due to illness or eligibility issues, and the numerous “missed opportunities” the Eagles had right on their opponents’ crease. But the most troubling — in respect to standings, that is — was the fact that they had lost a league contest, at home, to an opponent Luchsinger expected to be in a game that he characterized as a must-win. With a league schedule consisting of just six games (now five, after Tuesday), the margin of error is narrower than it is for many other high school sports.

“To lose our first league game against a team that we should have beaten, makes it more difficult for the playoff games… now that we’ve lost to Wilson, we cannot afford to lose to Central Catholic or Grant,” he explained. “In reality, we need to beat Cleveland and we also kind of need to take down Lincoln and OES.”

Wilson drew first blood in the game and held the lead until 4:40 left in the half until Jackson Lebsack scored one to tie it up — a remarkable shot that he took while climbing up from a kneeling position after getting checked — and then scored another with just over a minute remaining to take the one-goal lead going into the half.

In the second half both teams alternated goals. The Trojans started out with a goal to tie the game up, then Lebsack answered with his third in a row. Less than 90 seconds later, Wilson evened things up 4:26 to go in the third. Nobody scored for the rest of the third and HRV pulled ahead with 9:57 remaining off a shot from Ben Van Hoose. The Eagles held off Wilson until there was 1:15 left in the game — the Trojans taking advantage of their man-up situation after what Luchsinger characterized as an “unlucky” tripping penalty was called on HRV.

In sudden-death overtime, Luchsinger said the Wilson goalie cleared a bad shot taken by HRV, setting up a one-on-one situation with the offense and Eagles net-minder Jhett Chrisman that resulted in a coup de grace delivered by the Trojans.

“We made decisions on the field and it cost us the game,” Luchsinger said in summation.

Still, there were bright spots in the loss. Luchsinger commended Lebsack’s team-high three goals, noting that the attacker “had the game of his life… without him I don’t think we would have been in overtime. He played a hell of a game. I was really proud of him.”

He also complimented the defense of Alex Muñoz and Alex Ellifritz, with Ellifritz scooping up a team-high nine ground balls, and Muñoz second with five. Elliot Cramer had the “shot of the year… a laser to the top-left corner,” and scored along with Van Hoose, Russell Grim, and Torsenn Brown. Luchsinger gave kudos to Chrisman as well who played a “phenomenal game,” stopping nine of 17 shots (53 percent).

HRV looked to shake off the loss and get the team’s first league win of the season Friday at OES (results not available at press time) and then host a nonleague game with the Bombers of Richland, Wash., at 1 p.m. Saturday.



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