“David vs. Goliath”; a cliché of biblical proportions. Usually when we hear the term used in a sports story, it refers to an underdog team pitted against a heavily-favored powerhouse in a battle that no one expects them to win. This is not that kind of story.
This is about the “Goliaths” that roam the defense of the Curtis Viking’s lacrosse team. Defenders Tanner Amell (6’2 235lbs) Jacob Budnick (6′ 225lbs) and goalie Zach Budnick (6’5, 275 lbs) represent the heart of what has to be the largest defensive line in Division 1. And, since these three anchored the Viking’s 4A playoff-winning football team, they’re no sluggards. They’re all blessed with quick feet and good athleticism. Oh yeah, and they’re really good lacrosse players.
King’s Way, last year’s D1 semi-finalist, counters with some pretty solid “Davids” though, with Jack Beall, Clayton Frank, and Evan Ramirez holding down the Knights’ offense. Tonight we’d see how their slinging would hold up against the trio of Philistines from Curtis.
Another beautiful lacrosse evening at Viking stadium brought a large and raucous crowd that rivaled the one at Bainbridge Island the night before. King’s Way has always traveled well, with their fans and trademarked trailer providing plenty of noise and enthusiasm. And post-game food.
Beall and Frank, both committed to play NCAA lacrosse next year, (at D2 Dominican and D1 Marist, respectively) set the tone early with two quick goals in the first two minutes. But Curtis responds and ties it up 2-2 on scores from Jayden Todd (3g) and Beau Olson (3g, 3a.) The rest of the half was fast-paced, with crisp passing, and many transitions goals. Both teams delivered blows and took punches and neither one was able to develop much of a lead. It was a joy to watch and very unexpected at this point in the young season. The half ended with Curtis up by one, 7-6, and the fans anticipating a great second half.
The King’s Way roster has always drawn from a several different high school programs in the greater Vancouver area. Coach Dave Holler has turned the program into a perennial powerhouse, a dominant force in the Southern Conference. This year, the success of the program has spawned two new programs at Camas and Union, which has left the King’s Way cupboard a little bare. Sporting a varsity roster of only 16 players, the conventional wisdom at Viking Stadium was that Curtis would be able to take advantage of the Knight’s thin bench in the second half. With so few subs, it was thought King’s Way would be unable to keep up the rapid pace of the first half, and that Curtis’s defense would be able to dominate when the offense slowed down.
But this ain’t Coach Holler’s first rodeo, as the saying goes, and he knew last year what kind of roster he would end up with in 2013. “We worked very hard on our offseason conditioning,” said Holler, “we knew we’d have to run hard the whole game, and this team is in the best shape of any team we’ve had at King’s Way.”
The second half validated Coach Holler’s strategy. After the teams traded goals, The Knights went on a tear, ripping off seven unanswered goals to take a 14-8 lead. The Davids were running circles around the Goliaths and the Curtis beef couldn’t keep up. Zach Burdick stood tall in the net, but was faced with too many uncontested shots from in close, that nobody (and no body, even a 6’5 one) could stop. Curtis got back on track late in the fourth quarter, but the damage was done. King’s Way finished on top 16-11.
With the win, the Knights established themselves as the early favorites in the South Sound conference of Division 1. With this quality win on the road, they’ve sent a message that they’re the new Goliath in town. Curtis, meanwhile, needs to regroup, and figure out a way to play four quarters, as they have no time to rest. They face Eastside Catholic next, the team that knocked King’s Way out of last year’s playoffs, and it ought to be another good game. Come out and watch!
Statlines of the night:
King’s Way – Beall (5g, 1a), Frank (4g, 5a), Evan Ramirez (3g, 3a), Brian Prigmore (3g, 2a)
Curtis – Beau Olson (3g, 3a), Jayden Todd (3g)