The fine field at Woodland Park hosted a battle for first place in the Metro North conference between Roosevelt and Nathan Hale. Both teams were coming off one-goal contests against Vatican teams, with the Raiders suffering a squirrely 6-5 loss to Kennedy and the Roughriders eking out an overtime win against Blanchet. This was certain to be a great contest.
In their upcoming rematch on April 24th, Roosevelt has every possibility of regrouping and defeating Hale. I’m sure if teams played each other 10 times they would be evenly matched. But Roosevelt laid an egg yesterday, losing to Nathan Hale 7-1. And it wasn’t that close. Every team does it, Roosevelt needs to forget it and move on. But the Nathan Hale Raiders dominated every phase of the game; offense, defense, clears, rides, hottest fans, everything. It was a beating.
Hale’s defense kept Roosevelt’s leading scorer, Parker Williamson, in check allowing just one goal on one shot, well below his four goals per game average. The Raiders packed the middle, forcing Roosevelt to shoot from outside where the shots are slow and the living is easy, if you’re a goalie. Hale freshman Andrew McCall, who is a hidden jewel of goaliedom, had seven saves, but the defense held Roosevelt to just eight shots. Only eight shots the whole game. McCall’s footwork and off-hip prowess puts him up with the league’s elite, a list that certainly includes Roosevelt’s Kevin Ault, himself the proud owner of 14 saves in this game. Keep an eye on these two net-minders, they’ll be playing for a while.
Nathan Hale, like many teams, is an amalgamation of players from different high schools. Hale, University Prep and Ingraham high schools are represented pretty much evenly on the team. Most of the Ingraham players were introduced to the game by a PE teacher who developed a curriculum that weaves lacrosse into the fitness program. That introduces students to the game whose life experience may never have allowed them to learn about it. Students like Enkhbileg Nyamdorj. While you may think of “Nyamdorj” as one of the traditional lacrosse family names, up there with “Gait”, “Powell”, and “Stanwick,” curiously Enk had never heard of the game in his native Mongolia. That changed at Ingraham High School and Enk’s played D-pole in every game so far.
Which leads us directly into this week’s Division 2 Player of the Game, Hale midfielder Emil Bourban. On Friday, we covered Issaquah’s 2-OT upset win over Bellevue and when that game ended there were a lot of happy players on Issaquah’s team. But none of them was as proud and happy about their game as Emil. For today, Emil, an exchange student from Switzerland, saw the field for the first time this season. He spoke with us after the game, and could not have been more gracious and joyful. Having never seen lacrosse played until arriving at Nathan Hale this year, he was immediately attracted to the pace and physicality of it. “There’s contact, but it’s controlled,“ he said, “Not like football contact, but much more than soccer contact.” Emil and his big huge smile are hoping today’s efforts will lead to more playing time with Coach Chris Snider’s squad, but he’s not going to worry about it.
After Friday night’s big Bellevue/Issaquah game, I was thinking how great Washington lacrosse would be if it had more games like that; overtime contests between two powerhouses who are getting national recognition. I was wrong. Washington lacrosse gets better every time it has games with Emil and Enk.
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