West Linn shakes off slow start, dumps Tualatin 16-8
The West Linn boys lacrosse team learned a lot over spring break.
The Lions, after going 1-1 in their first two games, took their show on the road for spring break, traveling south to Casa Grande, Arizona, and going 3-0 against teams from across the United States.
Back home to face Tualatin in a non-league contest on Tuesday night, the Lions were anxious to show the Timberwolves what they'd learned— but they had to wait another 10 minutes to do it.
West Linn — admittedly a little overhyped at the start of Tuesday's game — trailed the Wolves by two goals late in the first quarter, but took off after that, outscoring Tualatin by 10 goals the rest of the way to win 16-8 at West Linn High School.
"I think we came out maybe with a little too much energy," said West Linn senior midfielder Cody Fretwell, who scored once and led his team with seven ground balls. "We were getting ahead of ourselves, and coming off spring break, we were a little hyped up and we thought we were the stuff, I guess, and we just can't do that."
"The thing is, we've just got to stay humble," said junior attack Ross Scott, who tied for team-high scoring honors on Tuesday with five goals. "Once we got hot, we stayed hot for a little bit and then we started to get unfocused again, so we've just got to keep playing our game."
With the win — West Linn's fourth straight — the Lions lifted their overall record to 5-1. The Timberwolves, meanwhile, lost for the third time in four games and fell to 1-3 for the season.
West Linn opened the game with an early pair of goals from Scott and Fretwell, but Tualatin took over in the next seven minutes, putting together a 5-1 scoring run to grab a 5-3 edge.
In that stretch, MacGuire Asay put Tualatin on the scoreboard 30 seconds after Fretwell's score, and teammate Alex Coco followed less than a minute later with a goal from the right side that tied the score at 2-2.
Tualatin's John Tromly provided the Wolves' first lead when he sped out from behind the Lions' goal and connected on the right side with 7 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first quarter. Teammate John Pickett made it four straight goals for the Wolves when he connected from the right seam, and after West Linn's Lucas Hockman scored to stop that streak, Coco took a pass from Tromly and scored from the 12 yards out in a man-up situation to push his team's lead to 5-3 with 2:13 to go in the quarter.
"We just weren't executing. We weren't playing our game," Fretwell explained.
That Tromly goal, however, was the end of the Timberwolves' offensive highlights. West Linn shut out Tualatin for the next 23:14 — covering the end of the first quarter, the entirety of the second and the first 9:01 of the third — outscored the Wolves 9-0 in that span and took complete control of the contest.
On the offensive end, the Lions saw Scott and teammate Ethan Loun take over, with Scott scoring three times in the second quarter and Loun twice to help West Linn grab an 11-5 lead at the half. Scott scored to close out the first quarter, Loun sandwiched two goals around a Michael Stell score, and Scott closed the half with three goals in the final 6:28 of the half for that six-goal lead.
Scott scored twice in just 22 seconds, Max Michelon took a Loun pass and connected from seven yards, and Loun then set up Scott for another goal with 4:08 remaining in the half.
"We (connect) in practice every day and I love having Ethan on my side along with the other attackers Mike (Stell) and Lucas (Hockman). We all just like to click and get the ball moving," Scott said.
The Lions then slow-walked the Wolves through a 1-1 third quarter, their lone goal coming from Scott — on another Loun assist — while Tualatin got a Pickett score to trail 12-6 entering the final period.
The Timberwolves added two more early scores in the fourth — from Coco and Dylan Lyman — to close within 12-8 with 10:42 left to play, but got no closer after that.
West Linn shut out Tualatin the rest of the way, while Loun tacked on another two goals while the Lions' other scores came from Stell and Clint Berggren.
After the game, Fretwell — who provided some big defensive hits for the Lions (and led his team penalties) — said his team needed to play smarter in future games.
"I thought that we played a little too physical. We had too many penalties — that really hurt us and kept the game close," Fretwell said. "We really need to keep that down for when we play tough teams. We are definitely a lot better team when we're not in the penalty box because it hurts a little bit. Once we get that under control, I think we should do pretty good."
More importantly, the Lions know that they need to keep moving forward if they hope to achieve their biggest season goals.
"We have a shot, but it just keeps getting harder and harder," Scott said. "We've got Sunset next week and (Oregon Episcopal) after that, so we've got to keep getting better and hold each other accountable in practice and in games."
Loun added five goals and three assists in the win, while Stell scored twice for the Lions. Teammate Spencer Edwards got six ground balls for West Linn, and goalie Mason Kohne collected six saves.
For Tualatin, Coco led the way with three goals and Pickett added two.
In upcoming games, West Linn hosts Sunset at 4 p.m. Saturday and plays at OES — the reigning state champion — at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.