By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– What a week it has been for the West Salem Lacrosse team.
Defeating tough teams in Canby (8-7 on Tuesday) and Corvallis (16-7 on Thursday) as they prepare for another tough challenge in McNary Saturday night at Flesher Field.
By halftime, it was 3-0 Titans as their Head Coach tells them to go, and they did in the second half.
Andy Moreno started the scoring in the second half pretty immediately into the third quarter as West Salem exploded for a 6-0 lead by mid-way through the third quarter.
“We’ve been working as a team throughout practice and games, we’ve been having a good season,” said freshman Garrett Davis. “We’ve been connecting pretty good and our shots have been falling.”
At five-foot-one, Davis sticks out by his height, but the freshman too sticks out by his ability from his Attacker position to play as if he was six-foot-one.
“I just have to have confidence in myself and their size won’t throw me off, I just have to have confidence in my stick skills and my teammates being there to help me,” said Davis, who had a assist in the game. “So that’s basically what I go off of.”
At that point, the Celtics brought the pressure offensively on senior John Holmes and his defensive front as they denied McNary a change to get back into the game with a score as the Titans added two more goals in the fourth quarter as West Salem shutdown the Celts for their second shutout in the North Valley League season and third of the season.
“Throughout the whole game our defense can always contain, especially when pressure comes on, I think that’s when the jets come on for our defense as well,” said Holmes who had eight saves in the contest, four in each half. “I mean when we played tougher competition, it just comes from practice for situations like this.
“I think our defense is pretty solid throughout the whole game.”
As for getting their second shutout of the league season, it’s just all apart of building momentum for their next game versus Sprague on the road Thursday.
“It’s a big confidence booster for people who haven’t play a team like McNary or South (Salem), I mean this is our third conference game and we already have two shutouts,” said Holmes. “I don’t know, it’s a huge confidence boost and for people to see that, I really hope that the State would take notice, I hope they’re ready.”
But Head Coach Sean Litrakis knows that they got to stay in the moment as they now prepare for their heated rival at Olympic Stadium and not to get too ahead of themselves as they sit in the driver seat in league with seven league games left and nine total games to go.
“Confidence is everything, but we’re still dealing with high school-age kids here where they get over-confident, they lose focus,” said Litrakis. “So we have to reign them in, keep things in even keel. Yeah it’s a huge boost for us moving forward, we’re sitting in the driver seats right now. We’re 3-0 in league and it doesn’t mean anything, it’s a long season to go. I think we have nine games to go, something like that, anything is possible.
“I don’t count my chickens until they’re hatch and that’s the bottom line right? We got to play nine solid game or we’re going to be in the dog-house…the team’s goal is first to take care of conference and second, to make a show in the State, and we got to do that by facing whoever we face in the playoffs and going from there. We’re not there yet in the playoffs so it’s one game at a time.”
Face-off for the epic rivilary between Titans and Sprague is slated for 8pm.
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Photos by Jeremy McDonald