D1 Game of the Week
Hearty fans braved a chilly April evening to watch Eastlake visit Sammamish, a game that had early playoff implications. Eastlake, off to a good start, has a solid crop of seniors, who have played together awhile and hope that this is the season they can gel together. The rest of the team is fighting to establish their reputation and earn playing time under first year coach, Chris Panos. The Wolves are coming off a tough overtime loss to Lake Washington, a stumble they hope won’t hurt them in a tiebreaker with the Kangaroos. Sammamish is fresh from an overtime game of their own, a win against Skyline, and is proving to Division 1 that they belong up here in the rarefied air.
With this back-story brewing, all the fans filed into the stadium with the same question on their mind; “How does that Eastlake midfielder play with that hair?” For those of you who’ve not been to an Eastlake game, senior captain Cooper Rosenthal sports D1’s best hair, a solid mane of dreadlocks. “Lettuce”, “Flow” or “Cabbage” can’t begin to describe the awesomeness that peeks out from underneath the helmet of the man wearing #8. Being a respected lacrosse journalist, I dug deep, went straight the source, the insider, the….girlfriend. Shanae, who was in the visitors stands, filled me in with answers to the tough questions. They are:
- No he’s never cut it
- He’s had it longer than three years
- It’s not hard to play with, but he gets the worst helmet hair you’ve ever seen.
- Post-game, she helps him roll each dreadlock back into shape, as they get flattened in play.
That out of the way, I turned my investigative chops back to the game at hand. Which was hard to do, because it was pretty sloppy. I don’t know if it was the lagging effects of spring break, mid-season doldrums, or just a rough night, but passing/catching/clearing/ground balls were pretty ugly all game long.
Alex Wenzl closed out the first quarter with a hat trick to put Sammamish up 3-2, and the Totems felt like they had a rhythm going.
But then Josiah Fonte answered with a hatty of his own in the second period and the half ended with the Wolves up 5-4, and me only feigning interest. It’s not that the effort wasn’t there, clearly they were trying. But things just weren’t clicking for either team and the lacrosse got pretty scruffy. Eastlake’s defense eventually rose to the occasion. Their constant communication behind goalie Avery Harkins helped them shut down Sammamish’s Tyler Wright, holding him pointless for the evening. Harkins had 10 saves and stopped everything that was thrown at the 5-hole.
In the other net, Sammamish’s Morgan White was using his spoon to overcome his the lapses in the defense. He threw 18 saves at Eastlake, and stoned several attempts from point blank range. He single-handedly kept the Totems close in the second half. But in the end, Rosenthal’s hair carried the day and the team went on to their fourth win of the season with a solid grip on the 5th playoff spot. They face a tough challenge Saturday as Bellevue rolls into town, fresh off their sweep of Long Island over Spring Break. Sammamish hosts Lake Tapps on Friday in what will be a slew of meaningful games as they try to cling to the last playoff berth in the Northeast Conference.