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Canby heads into the second round to face off with defending state champions OES

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Canby's Tyler Mead moves through the West Salem defense. Second time, same as before. Canby's lacrosse team once again found itself in the postseason, and once again found itself squaring up with West Salem, this time on May 17. The Cougars hosted on the grass JV lacrosse field just behind the baseball field and tennis courts. It was the first home game the Cougars were able to play all year due to maintenance on the turf field, and they made the most of it.

Canby rolled over the visiting Titans 14-4, and once again advanced to the second round of the OHSLA Championships. With the win, Canby's overall record improved to 10-8. West Salem, the North Valley Conference champions, fell to 9-8 and were eliminated from the title hunt.

The game started as strongly for the Cougars as could have been imagined. Canby went up 11-0 in the first half, and seemed unstoppable. West Salem was able to get four goals back in the second half, but never came closer than a nine-point deficit. Canby utilized strong passing and a strong defensive presence to negate any real momentum shift from the Titans.

Any advantage that Canby would have had in the grass as opposed to the turf was negated by the hustle West Salem showed in the second half.

"They actually scooped the ground balls better than we did, our guys were being lackadaisical and not scooping through the ball," Canby coach Jake McDonald said. "We thought we'd have more of an advantage but we didn't. It was mental errors."

Mental errors or not, the team still managed to dominate the Titans en route to the next round. The next team that Canby faces in its quest for gold is the Oregon Episcopal School (12-4), the champions of the Columbia Conference. OES is 4-1 in its last five games, and 6-0 in conference play.

Despite the impressive resume, McDonald believes that his team's competitions against the toughest teams in the state, Lake Oswego, West Linn, and Lakeridge, will have prepared them for the challenge OES will pose.

"We're going into the second round of playoffs against OES, and we just got done with last week playing really close with West Linn and Lakeridge," McDonald said. "We have a real advantage heading into the next round after playing the big three really close."

The advantage is not only a physical one, but a mental edge too. Canby believes it was meant to get into the playoffs, not only to contend but to win.

"We expect to be in the playoffs, and expect to get past the first round with the league we play in," McDonald said. "The next goal is to get past the second round, and I think we can do it. Last year we had a great opportunity against Glencoe, and we just had too many opportunities late in the stretch. Garrett broke his leg right before our game, but this year, I think this unit is better than last year. I think we have an advantage."

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