Despite late rally, the Wildcats could not overcome the Pioneers defense late and lost 11-12

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Wilsonvilles Ben Nieuwstraten scored four goals in the Wildcats 11-12 loss to Oregon City on Monday, April 9. Wilsonville—After a rough previous week against Oregon Episcopal School and Thurston, the Wilsonville boys lacrosse team looked to rebound against the visiting Oregon City Pioneers. For a majority of the game, it looked like they would do just that. However, a late lead change spelled defeat for the resilient home team. After 48 minutes of play, Wilsonville fell to Oregon City 11-12.

With its fourth loss in a row, Wilsonville's record fell to 1-5 overall. Oregon City picked up its second straight victory and improved to 2-3.

"I think it's the small mistakes," Wilsonville head coach Michael Wilson said. "I think we had a penalty for an illegal stick, and that was a three minute non-releasable penalty, and they got two goals off of that. I don't want to put it on that because there were other mistakes with penalties."

Wilson added, "Overall, I am very proud of the boys. The offense is starting to click and the defense is starting to settle down. We need to get a W though."

There was never any point in the game where either team was too far out of contention for victory. In the opening quarter, Wilsonville got on top 3-2 thanks to goals from two Carson Hull goals and a Ben Nieuwstraten goal with three seconds left.

In the second quarter, Wilsonville surrendered the lead early to Oregon City, but the Wildcats battled back to 4-4. Wilsonville's Keagan Jones got the tying goal at 8:51 of the quarter, and continuous pressure over the next three minutes led to Jones getting another goal, this time from 15 yards out. Nieuwstraten scored the next goal with 2:19 to go in the first half, and the Wildcats had the first two point advantage of the game. Oregon City would not be deterred, and with less than 20 seconds to go in the quarter the Pioneers picked up another goal. Going into halftime it was 6-5 in the Wildcats favor, and the offense was showing fight. SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Wilsonvilles Keagan Jones scored three goals against Oregon City on April 9.

"I think the offense was just patient and trusted the process," Wilson said. "We've been working on trusting, allowing the offense to run its course, and then find the open man, rather than going and try and take it all on one person and trying to take the game over."

Coming out of the locker rooms, the Wildcats stole back some of the momentum right off the bat. At 10:06 of the third quarter, Chance Hansen got the first goal of the half and Wilsonville was again up by two points. Oregon City answered with three consecutive goals over the course of four minutes. The tide had turned, and it was Oregon City up in the waning minutes of the third quarter. With less than a minute to go, Nieuwstraten picked up another goal and the game was tied at 8-8 before the final quarter.

Starting the final stanza of play, Oregon City opened up with a pair of quick goals, putting the home team down 10-8 less than two minutes into the quarter. Wilsonville answered with a goal from Bryce Panichello with 6:18 left in the game.

Oregon City answered back with a goal less than four minutes to go in the fourth, and Wilsonville was down by two points again. The Wildcats were fending off Pioneer pressure as the clock marched towards zero, but were able to turn around and strike, again with a Panichello goal. Oregon City got possession of the ball, and called a timeout with 1:27 to go. The break was fruitful for the Pioneers, who scored 10 seconds later to put the visiting team up by two goals.

Oregon City had two players penalized with less than a minute to, and Wilsonville had the personnel advantage. The Wildcats made the most of the fortuitous penalty, and Nieuwstraten put away his fourth goal of the match. Wilsonville was down 11-12, and regained possession with 30 seconds to go. The comeback was nearing fruition, but a shot just right over the goal sailed out of bounds, and Oregon City took possession as time ran out.

It was a tough loss for the Wildcats, who lost their fourth straight game in a row. Wilsonville plays Hood River (5-1) on Thursday, April 12. Against Hood River, Wilson hopes his team continues to learn and grow.

"I think more lacrosse IQ is a continuing lesson," Wilson said. "We're starting to understand the game and trust each other. We talk about trusting the process, but also trusting your teammates to make the plays. They're making the plays and they're starting to trust. It's kind of getting that chemistry down and hoping it clicks. That's what we're hoping to see next time."

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