By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It’s no easy task to replace two top people on defense, especially when it’s your goalkeeper and one of your defense-men that helped the program win it’s fifth-straight North Valley League-title in 2017.
But, the West Salem Lacrosse team found a way as State Wrestling-Qualifier in Mason Meredith stepped in for the graduated John Holmes and his defense looking to replace Justin Morales answered the bell in their season and home opener versus Thurston Friday night.
“Those are big shoes to fill, so we just had to have guys step up. Obviously no one is going to compete with John because he is probably one of the best goalies we’ve ever had in school history,” said Meredith. “So just being able to start off our season with three goals allowed, that’s big time because that’s going to give us momentum for throughout the season.”
The goal as a defensive unit is to hold opponents to four goals or less in a game, and early on in the game it looked it was going to be more than that as Thurston cut a 5-1 deficit to 5-3 as they knocked off the cobwebs of the off-season.
But when they did, the long-poles kept the Colts from ushering away with more goals as they live out the defensive pride that their Head Coach loves to bring to the game as the Titans held them to those three-goals in that game.
“All credit to the defense in front of me, guys stepped big time and shutdown their shooters,” said Meredith. “Two of the goals were my fault and other than that the team played great D and just looking for the future.”
Overcoming the first game jitters and finding their lacrosse feet again for the tough season ahead is no easy task to piece it together right out of the gate, and with the offense turning a 1-all tie after the first quarter to a quick 5-1 lead before adding on another six goals for 11 by games end is a good start for the short-poles as well on the other side of the field.
“It’s all about staying excited. Whenever we do something right, getting excited about it because it gets the boys excited and keeping them going,” starts Eric Frazer, who scored three goals Friday night. “This year we really wanted to work on coming out strong for the season because we have a tough schedule ahead of us. and we lost a couple good defenders so we’re trying to recover from that.
“So we came out, started slow and got fired up and we got on each other for each others mistakes and kind of recovered from that.”
With Tigard (1-0) coming to town Tuesday night for a 8pm opening face-off start time, West Salem’s just going to build from this game as they prepare for the Tigers coming to town.
“This is phenomenal but we still have a lot of work to do, we keep grinding everyday in practice, it’s fun,” starts Wyatt Livengood, who had a nice little connection from younger brother and freshman Jack, during the season opener Friday night. We have a good coach, good staff. We’re working hard everyday, we have less players than we did last year, but we work hard everyday no doubt.”
As for the blonde-dyed hair that the elder Livengood is sporting this season, eh, it’s senior year.
“Me and Simon (Smith) did it for senior season, it’s just a thing, I don’t know. I grew it out last year, I dyed it this year…got to do something every year,” smiled Livengood.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald