By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– Coming off of a stress fracture is no easy task and for McNary’s Aidan McCoy, it happened as he and his Celtic Lacrosse team were just about to kick off the 2022 season. But as they kickoff the North Valley League Playoffs Thursday night against the Sprague-South Salem co-op team, McCoy is making the most of what’s left of this season having came back a week ago.
Not just make a minor contribution, but a major one even as both McCoy and Jesse Dyer each scored four goals as the Celtics defeated the Olympians 12-3 to set up a match-up with West Salem Monday at McNary for the League Title.
“In this game I really felt like I could move easily and not be restricted by my injury. It feels so good being back on the team, just the team aspect…it’s just really inspiring to be out here with the boys,” McCoy said.
If there’s any time to bring your best stuff, it is now. And for McNary, they brought it once against Sprague-South Salem. The Celtics brought their aggression, jarring the ball loose with their sticks and scooping it up in transition. Eventually building a 6-0 lead 65 seconds into the third quarter before Brady Foster and Santiago Blanco-Mills helped keep the Olys within five with 3:17 left in the third quarter.
“They definitely stepped it up from the last game. They made a lot of mistakes last game, we’re still trying to figure out how to get the ball around without Henry, that was a tough loss and we went down after that,” Foster said as Sprague finished the season 8-7 and 1-3 in North Valley play. “(This season) was great to get some wins after last season. But it was great to see all the new kids out here, I think we got at least 15 new kids out here. So next year I think there’s going to be 15 or 20 juniors, which will be great. The last time we had a class that big was when I was a freshman and there was like 13. So it was good to see.”
Sprague went 1-7 in 2021 and 0-5 in league play as they increased their win total by seven games this season following Thursday’s defeat.
As for McNary, they stayed with it mentally. The squad pushed their lead to 8-2 by quarters end and outscored Sprague-South Salem 4-1 in the fourth quarter to seal their tenth win of the season. And the Celtics know too that they’ll bring the same type of game against the Titans on Monday night at 8pm if they want the North Valley Title. A goal of theirs all season.
“We don’t normally come out as hot, but we came out pretty hot. Hopefully we can carry over the same energy as we did against Sprague and beat them.” Dyer said.
“Versus West, it’s going to be super important to win face-offs in the first quarter,” adds McCoy. “I feel like if we can get face-offs in the first quarter and maybe one or two goals, we’ll have a chance to beat West. It’s one-game at a time and every game is the same and treat it as such.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald