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Englewood's lacrosse team took the field with three freshmen in the lineup and the veteran, talented Golden team took control of the tempo of play and outscored the Pirates 19-2 in the March 9 season opener.
The Demons won the opening faceoff, immediately mounted an attack and scored a goal less than two minutes into the game. The accurate passing by Golden players helped them control the ball, control the tempo of play and keep the action in the Englewood end of the field most of the game.
Golden built a strong lead and were up 15-1 at the end of the second period. Demon coaches continually moved players in and out of the lineup as they scored six goals in the final two periods.
Pirates senior Travis Hastings scored both goals for his team, one in the first half and one in the second half.
Englewood Coach Matt Thompson said he knew this game against the veteran Golden team would be a tough challenge for his young team.
“I guess you could say this is a rebuilding season for us, as we graduated 11 seniors last season. So, while we have a young group of guys this year, our focus will be working together and becoming a competitive team,” the Englewood coach said before the game. “I know our guys will play hard but it is will be a baptism of five for many of our young players as they go against a very good lacrosse team like Golden, but they say you learn and get better playing good opponents.”
He said he has 22 players out for lacrosse, which includes 13 freshmen and sophomores. The small number of players means the Pirates will not have a junior varsity team this season. However, he said he is encouraged that so many of his young players, including his freshmen starters, came up through the Pirate Youth Lacrosse program.
“The youth program is great for our sport. We have a solid group of freshmen this season and I think the majority of them came up through the Pirate youth program,” Thompson said. “Lacrosse is a sport that requires special skills like catching and throwing the ball within the net on the end of the stick and the action necessary to keep the ball in the net while running,” the coach said. “The youth (program) helps kids learn the fundamentals of those special lacrosse skills for lacrosse and develop into talented players. Both Travis Hastings and Chase Soderstrom, two of my seniors, played in the youth lacrosse program.”
Sophomore Riley Graves played his first game in goal for the Pirates. The coach said he too came up through the Pirate Youth Lacrosse Program, but he was a midfielder until this season.
He said the team does have good senior leadership on and off the field by attackman Hastings, midfielder Chase Soderstrom and defenseman Spencer Freemire.
Lacrosse is Hasting's sport and he said he has been playing since he was in the eighth grade.
“We have a lot of young guys on the team this season and I am doing what I can to help them,” he said. “I feel I am a team leader as a team captain who has been in charge of our offense for the last two and a half seasons. The last two seasons were pretty good, and I will say it is tough so far this year and it has been a bit of a grind in practice as we work to improve skills and build a competitive team. But we will hang in there and keep working to get better and hopefully win some games.”
Hastings plans to continue playing lacrosse after graduation for Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.
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