4 gs in a playoff game gets your name in the paper.
Tuesday night was the play-in round for the remaining 2 North District tickets to the Texas High School Lacrosse League’s big dance. Out in Coppell, Plano West junior attackman Ryan Schaffer scored four goals to lead the #5 seed Plano West Wolves to a 6-4 victory over the #4 seed Coppell Cowboys.
Also for the Wolves, IV Stucker added a goal and an absurd assist, while Luke Rivera, recently off injured reserve, stuck one as well. It is great to see Luke Rivera contributing for the Wolves after dealing with injuries his entire senior season. Plano West is lucky to have him back in the mix. Three other players tallied assists including midfielder Mackenzie Gordon, attackman Cody DeSarrano, and long stick midfielder Brett France.
Playoffs have commenced and Tuesday night’s matchup was an exciting way to get the 2nd season started. Coppell vs. Plano West, Round 1, went to Coppell in decided fashion, so we knew the rubber match would be intriguing. Coppell gained some great momentum moving into their playoff run by winning their last three games against solid opponents; Plano West was also on a similar upward tick. Tuesday night's matchup proved to be another opportunity to throw out all previously conceived notions. This has been the case with many of the games during the 2012 season. Each competition is unique and has its own particular set of circumstances. This one was no different.
In a losing effort, sophomore attackman Dillon Braun led Cowboys with one goal and one assist, while senior midfielder Chase Porter added a goal, as did juniors Henry Busch and Tommy McClenahan.
Coppell shot out of the gate scoring its first two goals in the first 1:17 of regulation, but Plano West answered tying the game at 2 going into the 2nd. At the half, Plano West took the lead 3-2, and moving into the 4th Plano West led 4-2 over the Cowboys.
The kid is back...just in time.
Heading into the game, there were a couple of factors that figured to weigh heavy upon the outcome of this matchup including Coppell’s decision whether or not to run their zone defense. A zone is frustrating for opponents, but, if your offense moves the ball with purpose and has a good plan for dealing with the zone, it can really sway momentum in your direction. This was the case for Plano West as they have plenty of good sticks, capable shooters, and individual offensive talent. All of these factors contributed to the Wolfpack, time of possession advantage.
Since Coppell’s offense did not have the ball as much as they would have liked to, they pressed when they gained possession. Plano West also jumped between man and zone which seemed to frustrate the Cowboys offense for much of the game. Zone used as an adjustment causes an offense to modify its offensive approach, whereas zone used as a basic can allow an offense to remain comfortable as long as they are patient. Other than Schaffer’s 4-goal effort, the real story was the Plano West defense which limited Coppell to a massive, goal-scoring lapse which lasted from 1:17 in the 1st to 1:51 in the 4th. A defense maligned with sliding issues early in the season seemed to be much improved Tuesday night, demonstrating an ability to slide, rotate, and recover with consistency. In goal for Plano West, freshman Michael Douglas was sensational especially late in the game. Several freshmen goalies have provided consistency for THSLL squads in the last couple of years, and we are excited to see how Douglas continues to develop. This southpaw keeper can play!
The 4th quarter of Tuesday’s matchup is when most of the offensive display took place as Plano West pushed their lead to 4 goals with 2 great backside feeds. Coppell, however, was not about to go into the offseason without a fight. Coppell had 3 extra man opportunities in the 4th quarter including a 2-man, unreleasable penalty which gave Coppell a 5 on 4 advantage. Coppell quickly registered two goals in less than a minute to bring the deficit to 2 goals with just under 2 minutes left in the game. A goalie's best friend and a comeback's nemesis, the post, was rattled at least twice by the Cowboys, as it really is a game of inches. The comeback was thwarted, and Plano West punched its ticket into the weekend's super regional.
In other “play-in” action on the other side of town, Highland Park took on ESD. ESD had achieved success early in the season, but, as of late, the Eagles were a squad looking for consistency. Highland Park, on the other hand, has been in a ton of close games and was just looking to put a full, 4 quarters together without giving up a 2nd half comeback. The Scots were not able to keep ESD from coming back, but they were able to secure their statement win for the season in OT by eliminating the North District's #3 seed. In a winning effort, senior face-off middie, Domenic Massimilian, added two goals and one assist going 9/12 on faceoffs, while Grayson Graham notched the OT winner for the Scots.
Penalties late in the game kept Coppell close.
Season is winding down. DSelect practice starts May 9th.
Now it is on to the State Super Regionals and quite an intriguing playoff landscape. In the next couple of days, StickStar Lacrosse will release its playoff preview outlining the paths to Georgetown. Two of last season's Final 4 members have been displaced. Who will make it this year? StickStar Lacrosse will have you covered with in-game scores, post game reports, the 2012 playoff preview, and our Man of the Match awards. Follow us on Twitter @StickStarLax and like us on Facebook.
See everyone at Hillcrest this weekend for the North Super Regionals! StickStar will be vending its 2012 Spring Apparel line out at Byrd Stadium, so, please, come pay us a visit. It should be a great weekend for lacrosse!