By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– Down 6-2 entering the second half versus Newberg, McNary needed some form of energy as they walked out the field for the third quarter of Thursday Night’s game at home.
That energy was slowly brewing as they went in for the first face-off of the half remembering what they were just talking about moments earlier.
“I think just us coming together as a team rather than as individuals coming back at halftime after having that talk, ‘hey we got to go out there, we work as a team, we pass as a team. Pass the ball around, that’s how things happen’,” starts Celtics goalie Marcus McCoy. “That’s how we approached the second half.”
McNary once held a 2-0 lead in this contest against the Tigers entering the middle part of the second quarter, but a one-minute penalty that set up a man-down situation allowed Newberg to turn that somewhat breathable cushion into a 3-2 deficit within that minute and the Tigers used that momentum to push that lead to 6-2 by the halftime break.
“Just personally I had to hit a reset button because that first half I probably played the worst Lacrosse I’ve ever played,” said Jonathan Williams. “So during halftime, I just sat and gather myself, and I think the rest of the team did too and we couldn’t bring it back like wanted to but we all settled ourselves down like we wanted to. It’s the first-game of the season, there’s always going to be kinks but we just got to grind it out and work on it.”
It was a grind in the second-half as the Celtics tried to climb themselves back into the game.
Penalties here putting McNary in man-down situations, losing a handle on a ball there, shots being stopped by Newberg wore on the Celts; but their coaches kept them in check mentally as Williams and Spencer De La Cruz’ goals in the closing minutes of the third quarter got McNary within reach of the Tigers entering the fourth down 7-4.
“Just leadership ability,” said McCoy. “The coaches came together and they talked us through it. They made sure that we knew what we were doing. The team captains, we came to our guys and we made sure they knew what the plan was and calm everyone down because tenses did get pretty high there during the second half. So we just came back to center and then that’s when we started to move.”
McCoy and his defense only allowed two second half goals all half to give their offense opportunities to do further damage as Williams struck again to make it 8-5 with 4:18 to go in the game and Kory Pagels made it 8-6 with 47 seconds left in the game after a shot was stop a few seconds earlier in the game.
That was the last goal by the Celtics unfortunately as Newberg’s offensive front and midfield kept the ball out of McNary’s hands as they held on for the 8-6 victory in both team’s season opener.
But, as they go back to practice in preparation for Tuesday’s road trip to Thurston for a 6pm start time, this game served as a measuring stick to see how they can improve between now and then both as a team and as individual parts to the team.
“We just need to learn how to come out settled and calm and cool, instead I came out a little hot I guess,” said Williams on how him and his team can improve moving forward.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald