In a year somewhat devoid of upsets, the Glencoe boys lacrosse team beat the odds by advancing to the Oregon High School Lacrosse Association quarterfinals before losing Friday, May 26 to Sunset, 10-5.
After an up-and-down season that included both a 10 and five game winning streak, six game losing streak, and a Pacific Conference title, the Tide defeated both Sheldon and Sherwood before falling to the No. 3-ranked Apollos on the road.
Glencoe – ranked 11th - defeated No. 6-ranked Sherwood 10-9 on the road Tuesday, May 23, and was looking forward to the game against highly ranked Sunset.
"We played pretty well and pretty composed," said Glencoe midfielder Eric Cortez. "We all believe in each other, so we always believe we can win."
Cortez scored three goals against the Bowmen and caught the eye of his coach Kyle Tolzman, who singled-out the junior for his performance.
"Eric really stepped up tonight," said Tolzman. "There was just something in his eyes. He was huge."
The coach, who sat his team down in a classroom more than a month ago amidst a six-game losing streak to discuss the disarray, has been Impressed with how they've responded since the midseason turmoil.
"I got the kids in a room, stepped back and let the kids talk," he said. "What happened was we found out we weren't trusting everyone on the team. Now everyone is trusting in one another and you've seen the result."
Unfortunately for the Tide, those results weren't enough to get past the Apollos.
"Sunset's a tough team and some of the things that have plagued us versus good teams this year, plagued us tonight," said Tolzman.
The home Apollos led 3-1 at the end of the first quarter, then opened things up with three quick scores, the last two from midfielders Andrew Meyer and Callum Craig. Glencoe made it 6-2 with 2:14 remaining in the half when junior Brennen Hay scored, but Sunset answered 19 seconds later when Craig again put the ball in the net to send the two teams to the half with the Tide trailing 7-2.
"The ability – or inability in this case - to get the groundball killed us in that first half," said Tolzman. "You've got to be able to get loose balls and be able to clear it against teams this good offensively."
Sunset kept the pressure on early in the third, and in reality put the game out of reach when Jacob Leonard and Bennett Greenbaum put together unanswered scores to make it 9-2. Glencoe clawed their way to three more goals the rest of the way, including two from junior Dylan Brauer and a final score by Hay with 2:11 left, but were buried beneath too much of a Sunset deficit to put more than a dent in the deciding margin.
"I'm proud of my kids," said Tolzman. "We've go a gritty type of kid that are all 'yes coach' kids, and because of that this has been my most enjoyable year in my 14 years of coaching."
Even with this year's success and the strides that Tolzman's program is making, the coach acknowledges there's still a ways to go in-order to catch up to the "Sunset's" of the lacrosse world.
"Sunset has a Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Junior Varsity 2. They have three seven/eighth grade teams and we have one. And they have three five/six teams and we have one," said the coach. "So we're looking at a deeper pool of talent and a mismatch of athletes."
But despite the numbers and talent discrepancy, Tolzman is excited for the prospects of next year's squad. He said they're losing some talent in the midfield and a couple big poles defensively, but if they can fill those spots and can continue to develop as a defense, they'll be tough again.
"We look solid for next season," said the coach. "We'll put in some good work in the offseason and we return some really talented kids. These kids want to be successful, so I'm excited."