By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– For much of the second quarter, the West Salem Lacrosse team found themselves down a man due to penalties that put pressure on their traditionally strong defense.
They’re young, many of their athletes still learning the ins-and-outs of the sport of Lacrosse as they feel behind 3-2 entering the second quarter, but even though they were faced with an man-down situation during the second 12-minute frame, that strong tradition of strong Titan defense showed itself as they learned as they went in their third game of the season.
“We’re learning as we go, we’re new players so we’re learning the rules and every game is a new experience,” said Rhett Cooper as West committed four penalties during the second frame and five in the opening half.
Cam Van Leuven, who made five of his 11 saves in the opening half, admitting that he is probably all too comfortable in these situations. But had a sigh of relief when he saw his offense create a 5-4 lead and Garrett Davis garnered a hat trick by the second minute of the third quarter with the lead pushing to 7-4 to start the second half.
“We’ve been faced with a lot of man down this season, especially last game. I just tried to stayed big because I know they have the advantage so they’re going to try to take as many shots as possible. So I try to stay big down there and hopefully make a save,” said Van Leuven. After we get a defensive stop and we see it go down the field and turn into a goal. It’s a good feeling.”
Three third quarter penalties inhibited the Titan offense further, but the long sticks in the back only permitted one third quarter goal entering the fourth quarter with West leading 7-5 entering the final 12 minutes.
Some say it’s better be late to the party than not at all, and oh boy did the Titan offense show up in the fourth starting with Davis picking up his fourth goal and Cooper picking up his second goal of the game.
By games end, Davis four goals were joined by Eric Frazer’s hat trick, three-goal game. Hunter Story joins Cooper with two goals each in the 11-7 win after the Titans built a 11-5 lead earlier in the fourth quarter.
“It was great, we relied a lot on the defense and with our new players this year, we’re a younger team. They really stepped it up, I’m really happy to see that,” said Davis. “Our offense was clicking there late. It was a good team win.”