HRV lax wins with hard-hitting defense, improved offense

After losing its opening two games, Hood River Valley High School lacrosse picked up key wins at home this week against Hermiston and Wilson high schools. Tuesday’s game was something of a gimme against the new Hermiston lacrosse team; the 5-3 win was earned largely by HRV junior varsity players, who gave the Bulldogs a better matchup than the varsity lineup would have.

The following day, HRV hosted Wilson in a much more contested game against the team that knocked the Eagles out of a playoff berth at the end of last season.

The 8-6 win was the first real revving of the Eagles’ offensive engine so far this season. Junior attackman Taylor Cramer hammered the Trojan defense to the tune of four goals to lead the HRV charge, while teammates Brendan Kerr, Trenton Gallagher, Torseen Brown and Jesse Lee had one goal apiece.

“Our offense finally stepped up and came out ready to play,” coach Jon Munk said. “They had something to prove considering they’ve been the weak link so far this season. The defense has been holding its own, and this was the first time our offense really possessed the ball well and kept Wilson from creating momentum.”

Last year, Wilson beat HRV 8-5 in a do-or-die game that determined who made the playoffs and whose season was over. As a constant league rival, Wilson opened this season with two solid wins, including a 10-7 victory over Westview, who beat Hood River 17-6 two weeks ago.

“The win definitely feels good,” Munk said. “But it’s not something we are going rest on. This wasn’t the game that really matters. We play Wilson at the end of the season, and that’s the win we really need to concentrate on. Wilson is going to learn from their mistakes and be ready next time we meet; we need to continue to improve so we can win when it really matters.”

Along with a livening offense, the HRV’s defense put in a solid showing in both games this week and is proving to be a tough crew to come up against. Moving forward, Munk says one challenge in the backfield will be to balance the effectiveness of an intimidating and hard-hitting defensive line with the finesse and self-control to necessary to maximize possession and avoid penalties.

“We have some very passionate layers, which is good but also makes me nervous,” Munk said. “We are playing a physical brand of lacrosse, but it’s really important to make sure we are playing clean and not picking up a bunch of penalties.”

The Eagles traveled to Jesuit Friday to take on the 6-1 Crusaders from the Metro League and will follow with away games against Newburg, Hillsboro and Rex Putnam before returning home April 23 to host the Central Catholic Rams in the first of the eight-game league schedule. The rematch with Wilson will be the final game of the regular season on May 13 at HRVHS.

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