Glencoe claims Pacific Conference title with 19-9 win over Liberty
Liberty and Glencoe faced-off Friday night, May 10, at Hare Field, with the Pacific Conference championship on the line. With both teams entering undefeated in conference play, it was more than just bragging rights on the line as the two Hillsboro schools jockeyed for a title, along with positioning in next week's Oregon High School Lacrosse Association's playoffs — and it was the Tide that prevailed.
Glencoe rode the hot hands of Nathaniel and Thomas Takle to both early and late goals, drowning the Falcons from the get-go en route to a relatively easy 19-9 home win.
"These boys will play harder for a league championship than anything," Glencoe head coach Kyle Tolzman said. "Now it's about getting them fired up about a state one."
With the win, the Crimson Tide secured their third consecutive league title and improved to No. 13 in the latest OHSLA rankings as of May 11. The top eight seeds are given byes in the first round, but despite not being in line for an opening round bye, Tolzman thinks his team can make some waves when the postseason kicks-off late next week.
"I feel good going forward," the coach said. "Our guys have been there. Maybe in different positions, but we have some maturity around and have been through the playoffs. I think we can surprise some people."
The Tide wasted little time getting on the board, scoring two goals in the first three minutes. They tacked-on two more over the next six minutes before the Falcons cut the lead to 4-1 when Lucas Maki scored on a goal assisted by Ethan Moody.
Glencoe immediately answered in the second, getting two quick goals from Thomas Takle and freshman Royce Fasel to stretch the lead to 6-1. Tolzman said the early lead was one of their keys entering the game, and hoped that by putting the Falcons down early, his squad would be able to limit a potent Liberty attack.
"Our goal from the beginning was to limit their transition, so in order to do that we needed to play great settled offense and score the ball," Tolzman said. "We didn't want them clearing the ball because they're extremely dangerous on the other end."
Liberty got a second goal a minute later, and a third goal from senior Brad Norman after that. But the Tide got three more goals from Nathaniel Takle, and one more from Beckett Lewis with 10 seconds remaining before the half to take a 10-3 lead and seriously put the Falcons on their heels.
It was more of the same in the second half, with Glencoe outscoring Liberty 6-1 in the third quarter before the Falcons saved some face in the fourth, outscoring the Tide 5-3 in the game's final stanza. Unfortunately the damage had been done, and Tolzman credited much of their success to simply scoring — something they've struggle to do in recent weeks.
"When you score that many goals, it just takes so much pressure off of our defense," the coach said. "Our face-off guy (Carson Wilson) was winning at a high percentage which allowed us to go on offense. We've struggled putting the ball in the net in games prior and it finally just clicked."
It wasn't all offense though, and Tolzman noted that as well, speaking to his defense, along with the return of a couple key pieces.
"We got some guys back tonight, including Royce Fasel who has been an absolute beast for us," said Tolzman. "He played his role and he's a game changer. Jacob Hall also did a nice job tying up Moody, and we wanted to slow down Norman and (Isaac) Tsolak, with the idea of staying packed-in and turn them into assist makers opposed to shooters."
Now it's on to the playoffs for both teams. And while the postseason is an entirely different animal, it didn't stop Tolzman from — at least for a minute or two — appreciating what his team accomplished, along with what they could do going forward.
"I'm so proud tonight," he said. "This team has come a long way, and I think they can accomplish more. But it's important to me that they're finally meeting their potential, and that makes me proud."
Glencoe was led by Nathaniel Takle who scored seven goals, while Thomas Takle added six of his own.
Liberty was led by Norman who tallied two goals.