By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– Some could think the rivalry between Sprague and McNary is a weird one to imagine, but in Lacrosse, it’s split right down the middle almost in overall record meetings. But it’s quite unique when the Olympains make the trip from their home turf to Flesher Field to play the Celtics.
At home, Sprague have been dominant versus McNary the last three years entering 2018 while the two meetings in Keizer have all but been dominant by one side.
The Olys defeated the Celts 12-11 in overtime last season with McNary taking the overtime battle 10-9 the year before and the Celtics taking the 2015 game 8-7 in regulation as they entered Monday Night’s showdown in Keizer for possibly their only meeting of the season if they don’t meet in the league playoffs.
Sprague jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter before the Celts took a 5-4 lead off a Johnathan Williams goal that was followed up by a Spence DeLaCruz goal that put McNary up 7-4 on the Olympians.
Blanchet Catholic’s Zac Gwyn scored two late goals to help Sprague cut it to within one at the halftime break 8-7 as Jeremy Buyserie’s shot to tie it feel short at the halftime horn.
“So this game, against them, is always a shootout. I think the last three or four years, we’ve gone into overtime with them. So it’s obviously a big rivalry we got,” said Caleb Cooper, who’s been in goal for Sprague since Gavin Kelly’s injury against Canby on April 2 in Canby.
Cooper and his defense and McNary’s Marcus McCoy and his defenseman in front of him made sure that both team’s offenses weren’t going to go off again in the second half before Jaymin Colvin of Sprague tied things up at 8 with 7:14 left in the third quarter, nearly five minutes into the second half before the first goal was scored.
Chad Pinney and Kory Pagels gave the Celtics back the lead up 10-8 before the Olys tied it at 10 before Sprague tied it at 10 thanks to Colvin’s goal with 14 seconds remaining in the quarter as the Olys were hoping that their late third quarter switch would be enough to help them over the top.
“Usually that doesn’t happen, but I guess we switched and we just had our heads locked in and ready to go. We came in fast and we’ve conditioned so hard in the off-season, so we can run to run it was awesome,” said Colvin who had five goals in the game.
They’ll have to use that speed later in the fourth quarter because as soon as it seemed that the Olympians would be running away from the Celtics after Colvin’s and Gwyn’s goals within the first 63 seconds of the fourth quarter to put Sprague up 12-10, McNary looked poised to make another late push following a statement that was made in the lines of:
“Are you telling me we can’t score two goals in five minutes?!?”
That was followed by Williams goal to cut the score to 12-11 with 4:47 left in the game as the Celtics held off the speed of the Olympians as the Celtics looked to tie the game up in the closing minutes.
“We played against Curtis last Friday and their one of the better teams from Washington and we came out here and we were going toe-to-toe with them, and their like Top 5 team in Washington,” said Williams who had three goals in the game. “And so we came in with a pretty big chip on our shoulder thinking, ‘Alright, we can just about do anything’.
“We believe in ourselves, over on that sideline there wasn’t a doubt that we couldn’t pull that game out. But, when it came down to the end, we made a few key mistakes. We just can’t make them in a game like that.”
Williams pointed to a few fast-breaks that Sprague had that the Olys used to turn a one-point lead into a 16-11 win, but is too a learning experience as they prepare for Corvallis Friday on the road.
“It’s big for us because they definitely have numbers on us,” said Williams of Sprague. “They have a lot of kids over there and we only have three or four Middy’s, so when they’re just out here running up and down the field doing fast breaks and stuff, once we get the ball we can’t play into that. We just have to slow the ball down and play our game instead of going on the fast-breaks.”
And with West Salem in the stands, watching not just McNary for their match-up on May 4, but also too were scouting Sprague for their match-up Friday at Sprague for yet another tough North Valley League Battle.
“Yeah I saw them up there so I’m excited,” said Colvin of the game ahead. “We got to come in like we did for this game and come focused and not too ahead of ourselves.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald