Oak Ridge girls' lacrosse team seeks consistencyBy: Staff Report
Lady Trojan lacrosse team strives for consistency
The varsity girls’ lacrosse team has had mixed results in early competition.
After an impressive home victory against Campolindo, the team traveled to Palo Alto to battle the two local high schools. The first contest pitted the Lady Trojans against the Titans from Gunn High School. The teams were evenly matched and the action when back and forth. Oak Ridge moved the ball fairly well, but defensively, they struggled to shut down Gunn’s junior center Vicky Nguyen, who scored five first-half goals to lead the Titans to a 9-6 halftime lead.
The Trojans were paced by senior Morgan Bakarich, who had three first half-goals. In the second half, the Trojans clamped down their defense, holding Gunn to only two goals in the entire half. Sophomore Sarah Cody and senior Bridget Hansen netted two goals apiece and the Trojans were able to escape Gunn with a hard fought 11-11 tie.
The following day, the Lady Trojans traveled a few miles north to take on the always competitive Vikings of Paly High. Oak Ridge was unable to keep up. Paly scored the first five goals of the game and never looked back in route to a 15-3 victory. The Trojans were led by Bridget Hansen (two goals) and Arielle Spring (two assists).
Things did not get any easier for the Lady Trojans on the road, as they ventured to Marin County several days later, where they faced the Novato Hornets. Novato dominated from the opening whistle, opening the game with six straight goals before the Trojans could even get on the scoreboard. The Hornets prevailed 18-2, handing the Trojans their second loss of the season. Seniors Marissa Perry and Morgan Bakarich provided the only scoring for the Trojans.
On Saturday, the Lady Trojans were happy to return home to face the 3-0 San Ramon Valley Wolves. Oak Ridge was determined to get off to a better start before their home crowd. Bakarich and Spring helped ensure that the Trojans would keep pace, with two first-half goals each. However, the Wolves had weapons of their own as UC Davis bound midfielder Tess Kevorkian scored three goals in the first half and Sarah Chandler netted four as the Wolves ended the first half with a slim 7-6 lead.
The second half was equally exciting. San Ramon came out of the gate aggressively and opened up a 12-8 lead. The Lady Trojans would not go away, though, as they held San Ramon scoreless for the last 15 minutes of regulation. With San Ramon holding on to a one-goal lead with less than two minutes left, freshman Kayla Galet ran 25 yards into the 8-meter circle and fired a shot high over the San Ramon goalie’s left shoulder to tie the game 12-12.
San Ramon won the ensuing draw and got off several shots in the last minute of the game, but the Lady Trojan defense combined with some nifty saves from freshman goalie Laurel Maunder held tight, pushing the game into overtime.
The Wolves dominated the draws in overtime and the Lady Trojans struggled to obtain possession. San Ramon had four unanswered goals and walked away with a 16-12 victory. The Trojans were paced by senior Bakarich and Galet, who each had three goals and Hansen and Spring who had two apiece. Madisyn Hallare and Mallory Temple also had strong games on defense.
Head coach Eldore’ Wood is pleased with the improvement.
“We are a young team with a new head coach and I am implementing a lot of new concepts,” Wood said. “In prior years, the team focused on a lot of one v. one offensive penetration. Our new offense is based a lot more on ball movement and creativity without the ball. Our stick skills and off the ball movement need to improve before it can be more effective. That will come in time. I expect some inconsistency, particularly early in the season, as we learn these concepts and get the rust off of our stickwork.
“Obviously, we were all disappointed with our performance on the road, but I am seeing gradual improvement. We are moving the ball better and our shot selection has been very good. To get to the next level, we will need to significantly improve our draw control and our ability to clear. These will be items of focus in the next week or so of practice. I would have been thrilled to beat San Ramon, but the fact that we could take them to overtime makes me believe that we can compete with many of the top teams in Northern California, when we play together.”
The varsity Lady Trojans take on St. Francis on Tuesday night at home at 7 p.m. and then host Menlo-Atherton High at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
JV team off to strong start
The junior varsity team’s depth and athleticism has helped them to a 3-0 record out of the gate. After opening the season with a 15-2 victory over Campolindo, the JV Lady Trojans traveled to Palo Alto to take on Gunn High School and Palo Alto High in back-to-back contests. The Trojans started out slow against Gunn, with a 3-1 lead at halftime. The second half was a different story, though, as the Trojans scored six goals and shutout the Titans for a 9-1 victory. The Trojans were led by Emily Ochs and Alyssa Mendoza, who had two goals each.
The following day, the Lady Trojans took on an experienced Palo Alto squad. The Vikings came out ready to play and opened up a 4-1 lead in the first seven minutes. Oak Ridge came alive midway into the first half and scored seven of the next eight goals to open a 7-5 lead at halftime. Emily Ochs paced the way with three first-half goals.
Oak Ridge kept its foot on the gas pedal to open up the second half, scoring four of the first five goals to extend the lead to 11-6. The Vikings did not go away easy, though. They scored successive goals to close to 11-8 with 10 minutes left. Freshman Kacie Wiedert then ended the Vikings run by notching her third goal of the afternoon. The Trojans netted two more goals and closed with a 14-9 victory.
Co-head coach Mike Polivka is not surprised of his team’s strong play this season.
“This is a talented and deep team and we believe that we are capable of winning every game we play,” Polivka said. “The key is to channel our effort and focus. Talent will only get us so far. If we outwork our opponents on defense and ground balls and we value possession, then we will continue to have results like this. If we get complacent, we will get ourselves into trouble, particularly with the difficult schedule we have ahead.”
The JV Lady Trojans have two home games this week, taking on rival St. Francis at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and Menlo Atherton at 11 a.m. on Saturday.