Saturday, April 7, 2012
It was a beatdown. There is no other way to put it.
As I walked around the track taking pictures during the HRV boys lacrosse team’s 23-0 win over Redmond I was struck by how small all of the Redmond players seemed.
Even in pads and lacrosse armor they all looked small compared to the HRV counterparts.
That probably had a great deal to do with how the Eagles were able to dominate the Panthers in every statistical category. The Panthers never even got close to scoring and HRV goalie Malcolm McCurdy had to make just two saves on the night.
Every team has to start somewhere, but in Redmond’s case the road has been a long one. In the last five years, the team has won just six games, according to oregonprepsports.com.
They have not won a game in over two years.
But they have to keep playing.
In Oregon High school lacrosse “pretty good teams” are a rare breed. Most teams either fall into the “great” or “really bad” category.
I would argue that HRV and Columbia Conference rival Wilson are two of the few that fit the “pretty good” label. But that’s just because the top two teams in their league, Lincoln and Oregon Episcopal, are routinely playing the state championship game.
The disparity between the bad teams and really good teams is stunning.
Last year Cleveland finished last in the Columbia Conference with a 2-13 (0-12 in league) record and a goal differential of -131 (67 scored, 198 allowed). Lincoln took the league title as usual with a 22-2 record and 11-0 league record. The Cardinals had a goal differential of +134 (353 scored, 129 allowed).
Outside of the near Portland area, the differentials were even worse.
Redmond was last in the High Desert League with a 0-6 league record, 0-9 overall. They had a goal differential of -145, scoring just eight goals the entire season. In the Midwestern conference, South Eugene was last with and 0-14 overall record and a goal differential of -153.
A bad season every now and then just happens; teams lose their best players and have to reload. There are two paths to consistent success: You can set up a strong and enthusiastic youth system, like Hood River, or you can throw down tons of money to start a program and recruit the best athletes from everybody who already set up a good youth system, like Jesuit.
However, programs like Redmond and South Eugene have never been good. They don’t have the money to overwhelm anybody with resources and they don’t have a strong feeder system.
That’s where I give Hood River credit. It committed to this sport, and has done it well at all levels.
The Eagles are one of the better teams in the state, consistent state playoff contenders in what is arguably the toughest high school lacrosse league in the state, and usually beat all the teams they are supposed to beat.
When you get 10 wins a season and are only usually looking up at Lincoln and OES, that is not such a bad place to be.
I hope that teams like Redmond find the resources to be successful; the state lacrosse scene could use it.
A system which is divided almost strictly into the haves and have-nots and no real prospect of the in-between doesn’t wind up being fun for anybody.
Whether you win by 23, like Hood River Valley did Tuesday, or lose by 23, as Redmond did, the end result does not wind up being beneficial for anyone.