By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Entering the third quarter versus South Salem, West Salem Lacrosse found themselves trying to pick up the pace versus the Saxons up 5-0 in their North Valley League Opener Thursday Night.
“They (the players) came to me and said we were slowing them down too much and that they wanted to pick up the pace,” said Titans Head Coach Sean Litrakis. “And that was a leadership dictated-thing, they did it on their own. I gave them the green light and you saw what happened.”
And oh boy, did it work.
By the 6:09 mark of the third quarter, the Titans quickly scored five goals and found themselves up 11-0 after Simon Smith finding the back of the net by 5:14 mark of the third quarter.
The question becomes, will we see this moving forward with Canby on Tuesday? We’ll have to see.
“We just go day-to-day and see how they’re feeling and tonight they felt like we slowed them down too much in the first half and said, ‘Hey, we need to get running. Getting our momentum and get our groove going’,” said Litrakis. “And I gave them the green and they went off.
“It’s just a tune-up, Portland is Portland and we’re in the North Valley. We’re trying to gain some respect and grow this game in our conference and it’s a big boost, but utlmately it’s a tune-up.”
The backline that features Justin Morales and company, set the tone whenever South came their way during the game, which was limited as West Salem added another goal before quarters end.
This was what they were looking for, some momentum entering league after their two-point loss to Tigard a few days ago; but hey, that’s how they flow said Litrakis.
And the Cougars will be no different in Canby as West Salem knows that Portland is King when it comes to the Sport of Lacrosse, and the Titans are trying to prove that programs like themselves outside of Portland can compete.
Especially when it comes playoff time in a few weeks as West looks to get their first ever playoff win as facing tough teams like the Canby Cougars, the Tigard Tigers and the Tualatin Timberwolves.
“I’ll tell you what, that’s individual coaches preferences and that’s my style certainly, I don’t like to play a cupcake schedule,” said Litrakis. “I want to face the toughest teams on the schedule so that these guys, when we do make it playoffs and we draw one of those tough teams, they’re not afraid of them.”
As they finished up the final touches to a great start to the league season and looking for their fifth-consecutive North Valley crown, they also know that they need to focus on the next task at hand, and that’s with Canby.
“If you look at our schedule, we’re going to be playing some powerhouses and I’m not afraid to play anybody,” said Litrakis. “I kind of think of ourselves like the Boise State of High School Lacrosse, we’ll play anybody, anytime, anywhere and that’s what you need to do to get better.
“We don’t shy away from tough games, but we tell the guys, ‘keep even keeled. Keep every game the same. It doesn’t matter if we play West Linn or West Albany or whatever, it doesn’t matter. So we try to take it one at a time.”
The first face-off versus the Cougs is scheduled for 730pm.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald