Race to the finish by McNutty


April 3rd.  In the five seasons we’ve been doing this, this is officially the latest I have ever rolled out my first comments about a lacrosse season. I could lie, and tell you it was because I was too busy watching lacrosse to comment on it. I could use as an excuse the unusual events that have occurred to me and mine during the 1st quarter of 2016. Or closer to the truth, I could point out that I’m reluctant to attend games when there’s a 37% chance it will devolve into a running clock game. (That was the actual rate in March.)

But the fact is, I just haven’t been moved to write anything yet.

But it all changed this past week or so, and it’s time to get going. It’s the final year of McNutty, so let’s get it underway . . .

In the first three weeks of play, that is March, we’ve had 220 Varsity games and 80 JV games. That’s 300 games already that had to have referees, scorekeepers, timers, spotters and field managers. There’s now 64 Varsity teams, 48 JV and 3 C teams. That’s 115 teams that have to have coaches, fields scheduled, equipment (balls, just think about the balls!) uniforms, trainers, first aid kits, paperwork, concussion forms, etc. You get my point. It’s amazing the number of volunteers that it takes to keep this train moving down the tract.  Do your part, call your team coordinator and volunteer.

On to the games . . . for the first time in awhile, Kingco has finally become interesting, or at least different, this year, as Woodinville, Eastlake and Skyline are chomping at the bit for the #3 playoff spot, unless Issaquah finds a way to plug the holes and right the ship.  If the playoffs started today, the seeding would be . . . never mind, they don’t.

Coach Dejon Hush took his high-volume sideline game into an early season

Coach Hush at last year's D2 championship gamae

contest against Brandon Fortier’s Issaquah Eagles. Both teams went deep in the playoffs last year, with Issaquah falling by one goal in the D1 semi-final game and the Purple Kangs winning it all in Division 2. Bumped up to D1 this year, LW played a controlled a game and CJ Schuster took a feed from Thuan Do with 20 seconds remaining in the game to win 5-4. Photos available here.  (Proceeds go to benefit a NW lacrosse charity.)

Issaquah @ Lake Washington
Issaquah @ Lake Washington

One of the closest games I watched was the Skyline vs. Eastlake rivalry game. It was a fundraiser for NAMI Seattle, had great playoff implications, had a loud crowd involved in what was a 60 minute war, and then went into overtime, where Skyline’s Sam Taffe scored his 2nd of the evening with two minutes left in overtime to give the Spartans a 9-8 win and the early lead in the playoff seeding.

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What more could you ask for on a Saturday night? Oh yeah, pictures! (For this game proceeds from all purchases will be donated to NAMI Seattle as well.) I thought both goalies and defenses played well. Eastlake is clearly goalie (and four year starter) Abe Escarda’s team and they didn’t disappoint, with Escarda saving 60% of the shots in the game. Senior Cam DeWeirdt was good in goal for the Spartans as well, with 9 saves on the night. Photos here

I liked White River’s big win over previously unbeaten Stanwood. The Spartans came into the game with the state’s highest flying offense, averaging 22 points per game. But 2nd year program White River held them to just six points, while putting up 12 of their own. They were led by the Funkhouser brothers, Luke and Matt who put up 2 and 3 goals respectively, with Matt adding 4 assists and 5 groundballs. That’s a blue collar day’s work, right there.

Finally, if it slipped your attention last year, longtime Vancouver-area power King’s Way renamed itself Columbia River and made the quarterfinals while featuring players from six high schools.  This year, they split again into Skyview and Columbia River, which often means both new programs struggle for a couple of years. However, former longtime King’s Way and perennial favorite coach Dave Holler has returned to coach Columbia River, after a couple of years of sabbatical.  This week his Knights found themselves down at halftime 5 to 12 against undefeated Richland.  Coach Holler must’ve dusted off one of his best halftime speeches, because his boys came back to win 15-13. Freshman BJ Bisquera and Kyle Dircksen each had 7 points with 4 goals to lead the rally.

In wrapping It up this week, I’d just like to say that if you don’t know the story of the year that the Klahowyah team has had, you should read about it here. They’ve lost four teammates since June and it’s driven them to play this season for their fallen friends. It’s a tough thing for anyone to go through and we wish them the best. “For the Four” indeed.

Photos for the season to date are available here. As always, proceeds go to a NW lacrosse charity


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