Weekend games did little to improve or hurt HRV’s standing in the boys lacrosse playoff race, creating a situation that left little margin of error for the Eagles heading into the final game of the regular season.
In their final league game of the season, the Eagles (10-7, 1-5 Portland League) fell to Grant (12-4, 3-3) on the road Friday by a score of 12-7 and then clobbered Hermiston 15-7 in Hood River on Saturday. That, combined with games played Monday, put HRV at No. 17, which by HRV Head Coach Matt Luchsinger’s calculations, gave HRV the second-to-last playoff spot.
The Eagles had one final game this week — a contest against La Salle (4-9, 1-4 Northwest League) Tuesday in Hood River at 7 p.m., results of which were not available at press time. Luchsinger said Monday that the game was “a 99-percent must-win” situation to ensure that HRV made the playoffs, as other teams’ games Tuesday evening, which marks the end of the regular season, could have an impact on the standings.
A win over Grant on Friday would have likely bumped up HRV’s ranking, as the Generals sat at No. 13. The Eagles stayed competitive in the first half but then faltered in the third quarter as HRV grew tired in the heat, only having four subs as the team’s ranks have been reduced by injuries and player ineligibility due to off-field issues.
“We started out pretty fine, we were doing well,” Luchsinger said. “The end of the half was 4-3. We knew it was going to be a battle and we were prepared well… but Grant went on a 7-0 run in the third quarter and pretty much took the momentum away.”
Luchsinger said he was proud of how the team played, which now has a sizable contingent brought up from the JV squad.
“In reality, we’re an extremely young team,” he noted. “We only have two seniors on the team (Alex Ellifritz and Torsenn Brown) and the rest are a handful of juniors, some sophomores, and we just brought up a bunch of freshman.”
One of those former JV players, attack Steven Crouch, led the team with two goals against Grant, along with Brown. Bruce Ostler, Alex McAlpine, and Elliot Cramer (who had a team-high five ground balls) rounded out the scoring for the Eagles with a goal each.
On Saturday, Luchsinger said that Hermiston was a team that helped boost HRV’s confidence and also provided a lot of experience to the newly-minted varsity players. The Buckaroos, who are in an independent league this season, scored the first goal in the game, but Luchsinger said his team ended up “exploding” in the second half after getting a slow start.
Crouch had another great game for the Eagles, leading all scorers with six goals. Cale Brown also gave a phenomenal effort, scoring six points with three goals, three assists, and also racked up a team-high eight ground balls. Luchsinger also lauded the defense of newcomer Jayden Pedrotti, who collected a ground ball Saturday afternoon. Jhett Chrisman started in net in both Friday’s and Saturday’s games, but goaltending stats were not available.
HRV will likely learn its playoff fate this Wednesday. Check the Hood River News’ Facebook page for updates.