Playoff lacrosse was in the air and SoundLacrosse highlighted two games with postseason implications. In Division Two, we visited the first game of the season between the top two teams in the Metro – South conference; Seattle Prep and Garfield. Prep sits on top of the conference, sporting a 9-1 record although still smarting from their upset loss last week at the hands of Blanchet. The Bulldogs of Garfield are a game behind at 6-2, sitting solid in the #2 seed for the playoffs, but they have their eye on #1.
Led by junior Cedric Rhodes, the league’s leading scorer, and junior captain Jackson Lanning, the Bulldogs feature a ball control offense that has no problem with catching and throwing. With only four seniors, Coach Ryan Kelly has built a team that looks to be contending for awhile. Across the field Seattle Prep coach Rick Schwartz has his Panthers firing on all cylinders, behind the unexpected success of freshman Max Kopf, who is running away with the ground ball title, and is one of the top faceoff men in the league.
A minute into the game Prep’s Cassidy Miller finds Kopf for a pretty goal and we’re underway with the Panthers sporting a 1-0 edge. Garfield’s Lanning answers with a solo shot to tie it up. Unbeknownst to us at this point, this was how the scoring was going to go from here on out. Miller (4g, 5a) would feed Kopf (5g, 1a,13gb) four more times in the game and Jackson (7g,10gb) scored solo a total of seven times. All in all, these three players would account for 18 of the game’s 24 goals. Not all that unusual in some D2 games, where a skilled player can individually dominant an inexperienced team. But that’s not what was happening here; these two teams have plenty of talent up and down both sides of the ball.
Prep led 6-3 at the half, but it didn’t feel at all like they had the game in hand. Their defense shut down Garfield in the 2nd quarter but at halftime Coach Schwartz exhorted his troops, saying that the Bulldogs were still going to make a couple of solid runs at them. In fact, the Bulldogs began and ended the third quarter with two goal runs that put the Panthers on their heels, but they were able to withstand the blows without panicking.
Forced to abandon its zone defense after Cassidy torched them for a couple of goals the Bulldog defense started to lapse, enabling Prep to pull away. The teams knew that this was a big game, as emotions ran hot and play got a little rougher. Credit Garfield’s Rhodes for stepping into a fray and separating the combatants, showing some leadership and perspective. The ‘dogs put in two last minute goals and the game ended with Seattle Prep on top 14-10.
Although Seattle Prep has now opened up a three game lead on Garfield, these teams could easily be the #1 and #2 seeds coming out of Metro-South. They both have to travel to Three Rivers for a tough matchup and then the regular season will end with a rematch of today’s game.
It was great to see quality D2 lacrosse, played tough and played well, by teams that clearly respect each other and fans that appreciate the efforts and toils of the kids.
Which was in direct contrast with the second game of the evening, when SoundLacrosse traveled to Eastside Catholic to watch the Crusaders host Lake Washington. In a game with very important playoff implications, the players on the field turned out to be minor participants in the drama of the game.
I’ve wrestled with how to report on the behaviors I witnessed from the adults in attendance last night, and I’m just going to say this:
It was not a good night for Washington lacrosse. It’s the kids’ game folks, the only reason we’re allowed near the field is to enable their dreams. Not to be a nightmare. Stay home if you can’t behave.
My policy is that I will not publish any game report from an event where adult behavior is so grossly out of line.
Until next time,