By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It wasn’t the prettiest game ever or the best game that they’ve played, but West Salem Lacrosse found a way to get it done Tuesday night at home.
Their rival Sprague, wanted to hand the Titans their first league loss of the season going up 5-4 on West Salem with 8:33 left in the third quarter; but slowly, through the adversity of what was going on around them, the Titans battled with Dez Schadt tying it with 3:04 as the game entered the fourth at five-apiece.
It was his fourth-goal of the game as the Senior wasn’t going to let this team down when they needed a leader in their time of need against of all teams in the Olympians.
“I saw that we kind of had a low start and that was not happening in this game,” said Schadt. “I was not going to let my teammates do that to themselves, I just wanted to be the momentum that everyone needed and I just kept going with it.
With the game being essentially a zero-zero ball game, the intensity picked up even more between the two-heated rivals as they banged up on another as the game went under the six minute mark.
Soon enough, Schadt emerged again as he drilled the go-ahead goal with 5:20 to put West Salem up 6-5 for his fifth-goal of the game as he out-did Wyatt Livengood’s three-goal performance the first time these two Titans of Salem met.
With the lead, their first since Little Man Garrett Davis’ opening goal four minutes into the game, it came down to their defense which has been proving why it’s one of the State’s best.
And with save-after-save, stop-after-stop, John Holmes didn’t realize how much time was on the clock as the final 5:20 seemed to drag on for 20 minutes.
“I didn’t realize we had five minutes left because I hate looking at the clock,” “But I told the boys all the time, I play for them and I know they play for me. I got their back and they got my mine.
“So when it comes down to that, I know they’re going to play their hardest and get in front of shots and poke check as much as they can. Just to know that and that I got their back, it’s a great feeling.”
Schadt had faith in his defense as the game continued to get intense with the game entered the final two minutes of the game and Holmes, Justin Morales and company went like a brickwall and prevented Sprague from scoring as they saw each other fighting for another for this win.
“I have 100-percent faith in our defense, they are the most consistent part of our team, they very rarely if ever, let me down and I just wanted to do as much as I could do for them, because I know they were giving it all to me,” said Schadt.
There was a brief scare in the final minutes that almost possibly send the game into an all out war to avoid overtime as the ball was pushed out from the goalie cylinder with both sides calling timeouts like it was going out of fashion in the final 1:20 of the game.
The last one with 11.7 by a Titan assistant coach was a complete oopsie as West Salem sent the ball up the field; but it was good regardless as they milked the clock down to zero, celebrating their fifth-straight North Valley League title.
The win proved their heart, their drive and will in that no matter if they’re having the best game in the world or the worst of the worst with two more games left in the regular season.
“Heart will always pick up the slack, effort wins over anything else and just putting everything we have, can pick up any small mistakes that you make,” said Schadt.
Head Coach Sean Litrakis, who had challenged his team at halftime in stepping up and go toe-to-toe and prove why they are where they are right now, was proud with how they battled through the worse of the worse for this win.
“There is no words for this kind of win, I always tell the guys that good teams find a way to win and that’s what we did tonight,”he said. “I keep saying, we have so much depth and in the last game, we had 11 different guys score; you never know who’s going to step up and tonight it was Dez.
“Dez just went Beast Mode, he just played incredible, I’m so proud of him and the entire team, we played outstanding defense, five goals is tremendous. I’m just overwhelmed right now, it’s just awesome.” 47
As coach tells his team to enjoy this moment, enjoy tonight because come Wednesday, it’s back to work for West Albany for Senior Night on Friday and Corvallis Tuesday with the hopes to build from this further for the postseason ahead.
“I told the guys, ‘hey congradulations on our fifth-striaght’, celebrate tonight but it’s back to business tomorrow, one-game at a time,” “We got to finish strong, that’s where we’re at.”
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!
Photos By Jeremy McDonald