West Salem Lacrosse Makes Playoff History

By Jeremy McDonald


SALEM, Ore.–West Salem did the thing.  They finally won a Playoff Game.  Years of strong play in the regular season, years coming up short in the playoffs.  The emotions poured out of them on their home turf, the second-time in program history that the Titans held a Playoff Game.  Ironically, it’ll be the six years to the day Friday of their last home playoff game that they had back on May 19, 2017.

Emotions too as they held off a charging Hood River Valley rally.  A rally that had turned a Titan 11-4 lead into a 12-10 lead with  7:05 left in the game when West Salem called time. 

In that huddle, it was one of those heart-to-hearts that the Titans, the North Valley Conference Champions, needed to reset their minds as they clamped down.  Clearing the Eagles out of their defensive end that they’ve both been living in for much of the second half, milking the clock enough to make history. Possessing as they locked up the first Championship Bracket victory in the Salem-Keizer since South Salem did so back in 2006.

Up 12-10 with 7:05 left in the game, West Salem slowed the game down as they looked for an insurance goal or two while keeping Hood River Valley off the board ( Video by Jeremy Mcdonald)

“I can’t even explain it.  I have no words,” starts a stunned Mason Murray.  “The guys.  They played really hard to earn it.”

Murray led the charge with five goals in the 12-10 victory over the Eagles.  Hood River Valley brought the aggression, challenging the West Salem squad mentally and physically and took advantage of their lull before a few breaks went the Titans way down the stretch to keep the Eagles from completing their comeback Thursday night.

Story had challenged them that it was now-or-never in that huddle.The senior-heavy Titan squad knows the history with their program.  Yes they got countless League Championships and countless wins that they added to, but this one.  This milestone eluded even all those other great West Salem teams.

West Salem celebrating their first-ever Lacrosse Playoff victory as the defeated Hood River Valley 12-10 (Video By Jeremy McDonald)

That’s why they celebrated like they did when the final whistle went off.  Yes a few local teams nabbed playoff wins in the Cascade Cup playoffs, but it’s been nearly 20-years since a Salem school accomplished this.  The Titans joined the club of Championship Bracket winners too as they advance to play Grant on Tuesday on the road.

“It got a little shaky there at the end, not going to lie, but we played our game.  Offense possessed and we did our job.  We did our job well and we won.  First-time in school history for us…it feels good, it feels really good,” JT Silldorff said.  “The morale on the team now is going to be through the roof going into our next round.  The next teams we’re going to play, they’re playoff regulars.  For us, that’s going to give us a little edge going into the next round knowing that this is our run, this is our run. Especially for us seniors.”


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