From the standpoint of fans who might be eager to watch one of America’s fastest-growing prep sports on a high level, it’s too bad that Civic Stadium won’t offer another playoff game this month.
The Bellingham Warriors provided plenty of thrills and spills, but for the second consecutive year the team lost a tantalizingly tight loser-out playoff opener following an unbeaten league season.
The Warriors, made up of local lacrosse lovers from several local schools, suffered a 9-7 loss to Woodinville in a Washington High School Boys’ Lacrosse Division I Round of 16 game on Tuesday, May 19.
“We just haven’t gotten over the hump,” said Warriors coach Tyler Farrar, whose team finished 10-0 in the Wesco/Northwest Division I league for the second consecutive year. “Last year we lost to Puyallup 13-12 in our playoff opener.”
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Farrar, though, could take pride in knowing his team came out on fire for the second half after falling behind 4-1 in the first two quarters.
Showing how fast momentum can change in lacrosse, the Warriors found themselves tied 5-5 with five minutes remaining in the third quarter after scoring four goals in fewer than six minutes.
Jackson Zerba opened the onslaught with two quick goals off assists by John Banuelos and Zach Lorenz.
Lorenz then scored the most exciting goal of the night unassisted on a long, skillful run. In boys’ lacrosse, players seldom run untouched since they get beat on well below the head by sticks as often as possible.
State scoring leader Nathaniel Heritage, a junior, then tied the match with his second goal of the match on an artful quick flick off an assist by Mark Gannon.
Heritage, who scored 53 goals in league play, came through with the Warriors’ first goal three minutes and three seconds into the match on an assist by Gavin Kaepernick, but that was their only first-half score.
The Falcons, however, quickly snapped the 5-5 tie and scored the next four goals in a span of less than six minutes, taking a 9-5 advantage with 11 minutes and 32 seconds remaining in the final quarter.
The physical, aggressive Woodinville crew did not allow another score until Zerba broke through for his third second-half goal. Gannon assisted at the 7:44 mark and Gannon then added the game’s last goal with 1:45 remaining.
“Dakota Turgeon (the Warriors’ goalie) would be our man of the match,” said Farrar. “He made some great stops (among eight saves) and Woodinville scored with outstanding shots.”
Farrar also praised defender Garrett Sorenson for “all-round excellent, physical, athletic play.”
“It was a hard-fought game, but we made a number of mental mistakes and we lacked execution on some plays, which cost us in the end,” the coach said.
Farrar said his team made numerous halftime adjustments.
“We fixed some easy mistakes, but Woodinville is a top team,” he said. “It was a great game but the better team tonight won. We just need to execute for 48 minutes to get over that hump.”
Tomomi Hirai led the Falcons with three goals and two assists. Alexander Blue scored three goals and Torin Frevor, Sam Farrington and Charlie Lane had one apiece.