Editor’s note: The Idaho Vandals are an MCLA D1 team, competing in the Pacific Northwest Conference. Krieg Shaw, a senior midfielder, will be contributing photos on a weekly basis all season long. Check out all of the Vandal Shots photo blogs.
This was a very eventful weekend in Oregon with our first real tests of the season against an always solid Oregon State team and a Portland State squad that is like day and night compared to last season. After almost 1,000 miles on the road, 17 hours in the car and two very close games, we came away from the weekend 1-1.
Saturday we were able to have a local field for use in the Glencoe area and had a nice pregame walkthrough to try and hash out any last minute issues before the Oregon State game.
The Captains shared their knowledge from yoga class to the rest of the team.
Game time. We’ve never beaten Oregon State, so for everyone on this team, this game was huge. It may not matter as far as our conference record goes, but as far as pride and knowing we can compete with and beat everyone on our schedule this year (as long as we bring our “A” game), this game was huge for us.
The fact that it was at Reser Stadium (Editor’s note: aka the “Big Burrito”) under the lights made this a pretty big spectacle as well.
Junior middie Zack Porter was named our fourth Captain before the OSU game.
While OSU led the whole game, it was close throughout the whole match; 3-2 after the first, 5-3 at half, 9-8 after the third, and 10-10 at the end of the fourth. OT says what? It was an intense match-up and ended up being very physical on both ends.
Nonetheless, overtime did not end in our favor, with OSU attackman Cooper McCabe putting one in to end the game. It was heartbreaking. I think just knowing how close we were to victory before it slipped away was painful enough, letting alone knowing this was the Seniors’ last chance to do this. After a stop to refuel at Denny’s and a two hour trip back up to Glencoe, we all crashed hard, thinking about what we had to do to not let that happen again on Sunday.
Sunday morning came way too soon but most of the guys didn’t give it a second glance with the memory of the previous night fresh on their minds. We made our way into Portland and got ready for another game on what would be a beautiful, sunny day.
Portland State came out hot and put two goals up on us before we went on our own run, tying the game going into the second quarter and going into halftime with a 6-3 lead.
Ben Lavigne was not interested in losing again and was determined to head home 2-1. He put up a goal and two assists in the game.
Offensively, we were finally able to really settle the ball down and make good decisions on offense. That and some great fast breaks and unsettled goals gave us the edge in this game. Sophomore attackman John Kopke put up five goals and an assist in a great offensive performance (and his fakes seemed to convince every pole he went up against).
Portland State has vastly improved this year and it showed throughout the game, especially in the second half when they locked down and brought the game to within one. But thankfully to some clutch saves by our goalie, Blake Uphus and some outstanding man-down stands on defense, we were able to hold off the Vikings and left Portland with a 9-8 victory, improving our record to 2-1.
Editor’s note: For more on the Vikings check out this week’s Fireside Chat with Portland State d-pole Adam Lopez
Overall it was a good weekend. In retrospect, as hard as the loss to OSU was, it helped us to really lock down Sunday and see where we needed to improve to start our conference games off on the right foot. Now we get two weeks off to continue to tune things up and get ready for a sunny week in San Diego, where we’ll face some tough competition in Claremont, San Diego State University and the University of San Diego.
Also, thank you to the family, friends and supporters that made the trip to Corvallis and Portland to cheer on the Vandals. Having that level of support at away games and being able to have home cooked meals and fresh baked cookies after a close loss is a huge morale booster. We have a huge amount of support from our family and friends this year that will help this become a great season for Vandal lacrosse.
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