When the Glendale and Mountain Ridge lacrosse teams get together, both teams know to play to the final whistle and their 2018 battle April 6 was no different.
The Glendale Vipers jumped out to an eight-goal, first-half lead, then needed two late goals by Reed Evans, to hang on for a 12-11 victory over Mountain Ridge at Thunderbird Paseo Park.
“I would love to have that first half back,” Mountain Ridge head coach Derek Bahler said. “That has been our play all year, falling behind early and having to try and battle back, and we just have to stop doing that.”
Glendale (6-3) came out fired up and dominated early, scoring three minutes into the game when Zamon Williams got the ball in front and slipped it past Mountain Ridge (3-4) goalkeeper Cole Hauser.
The Vipers then poured it on early with four more first-quarter goals as Asiah Fuentes and Zach Ray each scored twice to put the Vipers up 5-0.
“We were just not ready to play and we let them dictate what we did in the first quarter,” Bahler said.
Glendale head coach William Casey said his team came out with a game plan and executed it to perfection in the first half.
“We played really strong in the first half and the way they came out in the first, that was great to see,” Casey said. “We knew (Mountain Ridge) would come back, but we played strong to open the game.”
The Mountain Lions finally got on the board two minutes into the second quarter when Dylan Price got the ball and fired a shot from 20 yards out and put it past Vipers goalkeeper Cooper Brosius.
Glendale continued its offensive pressure in the first half as Ray added two more goals and another by Williams as the Vipers led 10-2 at halftime.
Bahler said he told his team at halftime it had to stop making mistakes and focus on its game plan if it wanted to get back into the game.
“I said, ‘Just play for each other and forget about the score,’” Bahler said.
Just over a minute into the third quarter, Mountain Ridge’s Craig Zeigler took a pass in front and bounced a goal into the net. Two minutes later, Lucas McMains took a pass form Brady Wijibrandts and fired it past Brosius for a goal. McMains scored again and the Mountain Lions were down 10-5 with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Wijibrandts, who lead the Mountain Lions in goals and assists, was held without a goal until the final two minutes of the game and had three assists in the game.
“(Wijibrandts) is their best player and we wanted to shut him down,” Casey said. “We were basically saying anyone else can beat us, we just wanted to shut him down and we did a pretty good job tonight.”
Joseph Baxley scored with four minutes left in the third, and Kaleb West less than a minute later put the Mountain Lions down 10-8 heading into the final quarter.
“We made some mistakes in the third quarter, and guys were ball watching and not playing,” Casey said.
In the final quarter, Mountain Ridge’s Zeigler fired a pass in front to Price, who backhanded it past Brosius to get within one goal.
“We gave ourselves a chance, but we just couldn’t finish this game,” Bahler said. “When we got within a goal, I thought the kids were playing the best of the game, but then (Glendale) got another one and they just seemed to answer when we got close.”
With six minutes left in the game, Glendale’s Reed Evans took a pass from Grant Warren and cut through two defenders and fired the ball into the net.
Mountain Ridge answered right back when Wijibrandts fired a pass from behind the Glendale net to Michael Kail who tipped it in to put the Mountain Lions down 11-10.
Thirty-two seconds later, Glendale secured the victory when Evans faked out two defenders and slid a pass into the net.
Wijibrandts scored with 1:54 left in the game and Glendale played a strong defense to keep the Mountain Lions from getting a final shot at tying the game.
“Those final two possessions were just about keeping the ball,” Casey said. “I told them, ‘Just control the ball and don’t turn the ball over,’ and they got it done.”
Glendale was led by Ray who scored four and Williams who added three in the win while Mountain Ridge was led by McMains with four goals and Zeigler and Dylan Price with two each.