By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–Sprague Lacrosse has a tendency three games into this season to come alive in the third quarter and Tuesday night’s game against Oregon City was no different.
Tied at six entering the second half, the Olympians once again saw their short-sticks roar to life as they scored five goals within the first four minutes of the third quarter to open a 11-6 lead on the Pioneers after a relatively neck-and-neck first half.
“It’s always nice, face-offs kind of control the tempo of the game so coming out the first face-off and scoring right off the bat really set the tempo for the rest of the third quarter,” said Zach Gwyn who scored the first goal of the half nine seconds into the third quarter while picking up a few assist during the run.
Gwyn, Jaymin Colvin and Ian Bell all scored three goals apiece for Sprague in Tuesday’s game.
But, as Oregon Lacrosse’s ‘hub’ is based in Portland with some good teams, Oregon City lived up to that billing as they cut the Olys lead to 11-8 by quarter’s end and turned Sprague’s brief 13-8 fourth quarter lead to 14-13 with 1:17 left in the game.
Now the Olympians were on their toes as their defense had to halt the Pioneers late charge while moving the ball back up to their midfielders and offensive front-line. Gwyn had a chance to give them a cushion as he picked up a loose ball but to no avail as Oregon City got the ball back with 22.1 seconds left when the Pioneers called timeout.
“It was scary because we focused a lot on in the last three quarters and nothing prepares you for that, with them coming back from that and you really realizing that in those final seconds that they could score and they could turn that game around that quick,” said defender Hogan Arthur So it’s very nerve racking with that amount of time on the clock.”
For Arthur, Gavin Kelly and company, it came down to one last stand. Coming out of the timeout, the Olys were back in almost a prevent defense in football protecting the goal as Oregon City came up the field.
“Extremely stressful, our adrenaline was really pumping and there was so much riding on this because if it goes into overtime, that’s really anyone’s game,” described Gwyn as the Pioneers came across midfield.
Oregon City was aggressive in their passing, Sprague was the same on the defensive front as they used their sticks to throw the Pioneers off their passes and keeping them on their toes with pokes and putting their sticks in throwing lanes.
The defense worked as the Olympians found a way to get the ball back and moved it up the field away from their goal as time expired in the 14-13 victory that pushed Sprague’s record to 3-0 on the season.
“It’s amazing because I know we have amazing Mitty’s (midfielders) and once they get the ball they’re not dropping it so I know it’s in good hands once it gets across that 50,” said Arthur as he saw the ball move up-field away from them when time expired.
And as they enter Spring Break undefeated, they’ll use the week off as a way to sharpen up the basic with three games out of the Spring Break week starting with Canby (1-0) on Monday April 2 at Canby before hosting Forest Grove April 4 at home and closing out the week back at Roseburg on April 6.
“We’re going to be working a lot this Spring Break, just working on the basics,” said Arthur. “Just things that we need to get figured out and we’ll come back at the end of the break and come back even harder.”