Saturday, May 10, 2014/lk
After allowing a ruinous eight unanswered goals in the first quarter, the Hood River Valley High School varsity girls lacrosse team matched Lincoln High goal-for-goal to end Wednesday’s game — the final of the season — on a positive note. The 16-8 home loss puts the Eagles at 4-10 this season and fifth in the Portland league, and while the win-loss record isn’t all that impressive, coach Andrew McElderry is pleased, and proud, of how the girls did.
“We knew from the beginning it was going to be a growing season for us, and that’s what it was,” McElderry said. “Overall it was a good season; the coolest thing for me was to see how much the girls enjoyed being part of the team.”
For seniors Maddie Bellknap, Emmy McPherson, Althea Dillon, Delia Dolan and Sophia Finstad, the game was their last in the Eagle uniform, and despite a rocky first quarter, they were the glue that held the team together to rally back.
“Our seniors really shined,” said McElderry, who took on the role as head coach this year after assisting the team last season. “It was great to see them come together like that to end the season. At one point we were as close as three goals with about nine minutes left in the game.”
McElderry said that although the seniors — including Bailey Murahashi and Amalie Broecker, who were on the JV team — will be missed, he’s looking forward to the future of the team, and the force of experienced young players feeding into the high school from Hood River’s blossoming youth program.
“We have a log of good stuff coming down the pipe,” he said. “The coaching down below (in the youth program) is awesome; the future looks very good for Hood River lacrosse. Something we always have to keep in mind, though, is out here we have a lot of kids who do all kinds of activities, but we’re trying to compete against other programs that have kids who focus on just one sport. I think that’s always going to be a challenge for us here in Hood River.”
Lincoln opened the first quarter with an aggressive attack and a solid passing game that the Eagles had a hard time contending with. The Eagles didn’t really gain traction until the end of the quarter, when Isabell Cullen scored two quick goals to help close out the quarter with some sense of positive momentum. Cullen went on to score two more in the game, while Erin Mayer had two and Dolan and Lydia McElderry had once each.
“We made a couple runs where it was pass, pass, pass to set up assists and goals,” McElderry said. “That’s the kind of game we need to play. In the past I think we’ve relied more on one or two players to carry us, but to take the team to the next level we’re going to have to be a better passing team. And we’re getting there. We have the skills, now we just need the winning drive.”
Wednesday’s loss was the fifth-straight for the girls, although two of those were within two points and could have gone either way. As of Friday morning, Oregon Episcopal School led the PL with an undefeated 11-0 record, followed by Wilson and Lincoln in the top three. State playoffs begin later this month between the top teams from the state’s six leagues.