Sorry for the delay. With yesterday being Easter and some problems getting my new router up and running, I did not have a chance to do a proper write up of Saturday's games.
By now I am sure that you have at least heard about the games and how Valley did. After finishing 3-1 last week, the Tigers set their sites on grabbing two wins on Saturday. Standing in their way was defending state champions Millard West, who were coming in with an 18 game unbeaten streak.
Game 1 vs Millard West
Millard West has played in every state championship except for one (2008). They won the 2009 championship by beating Creighton Prep 8-7. They came to Clive with an 18 game unbeaten streak. Valley knew the odds were against them.
It was clear from the get go that Millard West expected to win this game. It also seemed that they received a scouting report from Creighton Prep as they focused on locking down Dylan Griess. Luckily for the Tigers, the whole team was ready to go against the Wildcats and Griess knew how to move the ball.
In what can only be described as an epic battle and one of the best games I have witnessed in this league, both teams played spectacular lacrosse. The scoring was back and forth throughout the game with constant adjustments coming from both benches. The officiating, despite some complaints from both teams, was fairly even. In the end it came down to Valley's ability to work as a unit and create better offensive opportunities. Only committing one penalty helped a lot as well.
Lax Power did not have a line for the game before scores were reported. Oddly they now show Valley being two goal favorites. Despite the win, Valley is still ranked third, behind Millard West. West Side Lax now has Valley in second behind Prep; the site is now giving the Tigers more respect. Head Coach Zielonko was contacted for an interview immediately following the afternoon game.
Game 2 vs Millard South
The winless Patriots looked to capitalize on the disruption caused by Valley when they faced the Wildcats at 12:30pm. South held West within a couple of goals for most of that game before finally falling behind to lose 12-5.
Despite the cursed long break between games, the Tigers came into the South game still riding the win over West. But it did not take long for Valley to get lazy. Mistakes were made and play was sloppy. Penalty minutes were racked up at an alarming rate. All four coaches gave a massive pep talk during half time and managed to wake the boys back up.
Coming alive in the second half, Valley was able to go deep in the bench and get more experience for the JV guys. The Tigers exhibited more discipline and kept their heads in the game. Hunter Couch's ferocity in the net kept out around 70% of the shots on goal.
Perhaps the coolest thing about this game - and the second-best highlight of the day - was when the Clive Fire Department rolled up in a ladder truck and ambulance. A whole crew of on-duty emergency personnel came out to watch the lacrosse action and cheer on Valley with the large group of fans already in attendance. Thanks guys! Your support gave the boys the wake up call they needed.
JV Game vs Millard West
After most of the team saw considerable time in the South game, we knew the JV squad would be a little winded. Leading face off man and JV captain Goertz was out because of injury. LSM Boyd rolled an ankle during the South game. Regular goalie Stoakes was gone because of job responsibilities. In net was varsity LSM McDougal.
Despite only working in the cage for about 30 minutes on Thursday and briefly during the lunch break on Saturday, McDougal stepped up in a big way. He worked hard on his positioning and stepped to the ball. The defense relished the fact there was relief on the bench and worked hard to limit the shots. The middies and attack worked together well and executed the offense. Everybody played hard and continued to fight throughout the game.
Despite the loss, the boys showed improvement over last week. Once we have a full and healthy line up, we should have no trouble winning these games. Surprisingly, endurance seems to be a non issue.
This weekend we head to Lincoln, NE for two games on Sunday. At 10:00 am we face fourth place Lincoln. Last year the Rampage went winless. With the addition of a new coach from the University of Nebraska, they are surging. It should be another epic game against a strong team.
After that we face Papillion-La Vista at 12:30. Papio have fallen off their usual form and will no doubt be looking to step up as giant killers during our game. As long as we stay focused and execute our game plan, we will be fine.
The JV does not play this weekend s the Saturday game has been cancelled.