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Plano West 11 Westlake 10 Final / OT

02/18/2013, 12:30pm CST
By Editor

Inter-district clash between the Wolfpack and the #1 team from the Central District.

Mac Gordon tallied the game-tying goal with just three seconds left in regulation.

With just three seconds left in regulation, senior attackman Ryan Schaffer found junior midfielder Mac Gordon open on the backside for a time and room shot that ultimately sent the Plano West Wolves to an overtime session against the #1 team in the Central district, the Westlake Chaps, Sunday afternoon at Chaps Stadium.  In the overtime session, Schaffer once again initiated from behind, ultimately turned the corner, and dumped it in one-handed to give the Wolves an impressive comeback win on the road in an important inter-district matchup.

Schaffer turns the corner in OT to seal the deal.

Ryan Schaffer went absolutely nuts on Sunday registering six goals and two assists, contributing on 8 of the 11 Wolfpack goals.  For the Wolves, sophomore attackman Larry Blaser registered three goals and one assist, senior attackman Cody DeSerrano tallied three assists, while junior midfielders Mac Gordon and Chris Darby each added a goal.

Sunday was StickStar Report 2013’s unofficial start of the regular season.  Boy, was it a great way to kick it off!  An inter-divisional matchup between two squads with tremendous talent really set the table for what will undoubtedly be an awesome season full of competitive matchups and a skoach of parity.   

In a losing effort, senior attackman Tanner Thompson paced all Chaps scorers with three goals and one assist, while senior midfielder Tate Bowden registered two goals.


Tanner Thompson registered 3,1 on the day.

In what was truly a game of runs, the Wolfpack got out to an early start, up 3-1 at the end of the 1st and 7-2 at the half.  But, in the 3rd quarter, it was all Chaps with Westlake outscoring Plano West 6-1 to tie it up at eights heading into the 4th.

To round out the scoring for Westlake, senior attackman Mac Breedlove added one goal and one assist while Ruel Ellis, Matthew Rockwell, Craig Kemper, John Azar each added a goal apiece.

The matchup between Westlake and Plano West really piqued our interest as a contest between 2 programs trying to make their way into the upper echelon of the League.  Each team is packed with skilled players, athletic defenses, and polished keepers, so, on paper, it appeared this game would be close.

In the 1st half, it wasn’t.  To start the game, we expected the athletic defense for the Chaps to come out and apply pressure just as they do in their central district contests.  Instead, they came out in their “Shark” zone.  Zone makes it tough for opponents, but, to the Plano West coaching staff's credit, they made the appropriate adjustments early and quickly recognized the situation.  After manufacturing several settled goals against the zone, Westlake jumped back into man.

Also in the 1st half, Westlake had a tough time clearing the ball, which lead to several 2nd chance & transition opportunities for the Wolfpack.  Plano West consistently applied pressure in the riding game turning carrying long sticks and creating turnovers.  Westlake did not register their 1st shot on cage until late in the 1st when Tanner Thompson got a Plano West defenseman hung, ultimately turning the corner, and getting the Chaps in the scoring column.  In the 2nd quarter, Plano West continued to play the aggressor executing well on the offensive side of the field.  Schaffer initiated from behind and frequently got either a step or beat his man topside drawing tons of attention.  To his credit, he really made the offense work.

Plano West Wolves vs. Westlake Chaps

The Wolves' starting attack unit produced 15 points on the day, accounting for 9 goals and 6 assists.

To his credit, senior goalie Abe Monroe made a ton of outside saves and really kept the Chaps in the game.

Westlake coming out in the 2nd half with something to prove.

To begin the 2nd half, Westlake started man-up, and the Chaps converted on their initial opportunity.  The game of runs had begun.  Plano West was flagged 13 times on Sunday allowing the Chaps to get back into the game.  To their credit, Westlake was able to convert on several 2nd half opportunities as the game saw all the momentum swing back in Westlake’s favor.  Westlake’s last goal on man-up was against a Plano West squad working on their 3-man down, triangle execution.  What a difference a quarter makes! Dominating possession, Westlake really had their confidence back, and it showed.

At this point, we finally had a game.  While the refs had been a little overbearing, it was now anyone’s match.  Each squad exchanged possessions, and Ryan Schaffer went back to work putting Plano West up one.  Then, again, it appeared that Schaffer had sealed the deal with a nifty diving finish (see below).  The refs, however, took the goal off the board citing some off-ball interference.  On the ensuing clear, the Chaps wasted no time pushing transition and ultimately finishing, to tie it up once again, a 2-goal swing.  Once again, Westlake seized the momentum on the next offensive possession when sophomore midfielder Craig Kemper finished on the run to finally put Westlake up, their first lead of the game.

With the new rule changes and the addition of the shot clock, it has become very difficult to simply run the game clock out at the end of a contest such as this one.  It was fully apparent on Sunday.  With just over two minutes left, Westlake looked to run the clock out when the refs slapped the shot clock on.  Teams will need to apply pressure to the goal and manufacture shots when the time is running down.  Westlake was unable to do either and, subsequently, turned the ball over.  Plano West cleared the ball, retained possession, and called a time out with 44 seconds left.  Expecting zone out of the timeout, Plano West manufactured a look they were comfortable with and with 3 seconds left, well, the rest is history.

Both teams should be credited with what was a competitive and truly enjoyable matchup.  Plano West battled back after being up, and Westlake fought back after being down.  After the game, Man of the Match Ryan Schaffer said, “Great team win.  Give all the love to my teammates.  Westlake played a great game, and I’m just happy we could escape with a win.” It is tough to win on the road, and Plano West returned to the friendly confines of the DTX with a 2-0 record.

Tate Bowden got the Chaps going scoring the first two goals of the 2nd half.

3 men down. Something you never want to say, "Triangle it up".

The 3 sophomore mids for Westlake are STRONG - Rockwell, Kemper, and Azar.

"Westlake played a great game. I'm just happy we could escape with a win." Ryan Schaffer

Ryan Schaffer - Man of the Match.

Westlake looks to respond against D2 St. Michael's on Tuesday while the Wolfpack looks to continue their winning ways against Southlake this coming weekend.  On the docket for the StickStar Report are two great games on Friday night.  In the HTX, the defending State Champs, the Highland Park Scots, will take on a tough Woodlands squad.  In the DTX, Jesuit takes on Coppell.  It should be another fun weekend of lacrosse and know that the StickStar Report will have you covered.  Please, follow us on Twitter @StickStarLax and @StickStarATX for up to the minute THSLL action and scores!

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