By Jeremy McDonald
MONMOUTH, Ore.– The West Salem Boys Lacrosse team has had themselves a nice little run since 2013. All but the 2021 Covid-Shortened season during that span the Titans have won the North Valley Conference title and are looking once more to bring home yet another league title this Spring under a new Head Coach.
Jody Story, who won Assistant Coach of the Year honors last Spring, will be taking over the Head Coaching duties of this storied program after nine years serving as an assistant. Seeing much of the West Salem success in the meantime as his team practiced at Western Oregon University Wednesday night in preparation of their season kicking off next week.
“It’s really the relationships with the kids, I’ve known most of these guys quite awhile and I know what they’re capable of. Now it’s just trying to push them to be the best that they can,” Story starts. “It’s a good group of guys. I love the sport, I never got to play it growing up but once my kids started playing it I fell in love with it…these guys know that I love the game. Last night we had a little mini-scrimmage to practice for tonight so they knew how we were going to run it and they were having so much fun and to me that’s what it’s all about.”
The West Salem squad had a full scrimmage Wednesday night at WOU, their first game of the season against Ridgeview on March 12 at 7pm on home turf. Last season the squad rallied from three goals down to force overtime against McNary at McNary in the NVC Championship Game. Eventually taking down the Celtics in double-overtime to keep their conference winning ways alive and denying McNary from winning their first-ever Conference Championship.
But in his first year at the helm, Story will have his work cut out for him. Story will have to replace his whole defensive backside, similar to the defensive-third in soccer where the goalie is, due to graduation. It’s part of the process points Story. The squad does have a strong offensive presence that his and the squads focus can be on polishing up that defensive front early on into the season with the 30-plus kids they have out playing the sport this year.
“It’s really just putting everything together. We’re going to have a new defensive line this year because we graduated all of our defense, our starting defense last year. So rebuilding that is going to be a huge part. Our offense, we have a lot of seniors and juniors that are leading the offense so offensively we should be pretty strong. Defense is where most of the work is going to have to be. To repeat (last year) and keep the other teams from scoring is going to be huge for us,” said Story.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald