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After a full week of rest and only two games over the last 21 days, the Canby Cougar lacrosse team made up for any lost excitement in their home game Friday against the Bend Lava Bears.
Against a Bend (5-3) team that has yet to lose to an in-state opponent, the Cougars (3-2) fought their way back from deficits twice but were unable to walk away with the win, falling 9-10 in an intense overtime game.
With their Monday game canceled due to their opponents’ limited availability, Canby had extra time off to prepare. They needed it. Bend had outscored their last 47-16, including a 17-1 win over Ridgeview earlier in the week — and started Friday’s game looking like they were itching for another rout.
Just one minute into the game, the Lava Bears struck first when Christian Kasmeyer rocketed a goal from deep to grab an early lead. Minutes later, Tag Deluca found himself unguarded next to the goal — an absolute breakdown defensively — and scored an easy goal past Logan Corley.
After six minutes of the first quarter, Bend led 2-0 and was outshooting Canby 8-0. The Cougars had barely gotten the ball into their side of the field.
“Resilience is something the whole coaching staff preaches day in and day out,” first-year Canby head coach Trey Bellmore told the Current. “Things aren’t always going to go our way, but if we come out and play hard, things will eventually go our way.”
This philosophy rang true in the first quarter. After a brutal stretch to start the game, Tyler Konold kicked the offense into high gear. The football standout showed his lacrosse skills, bulldozing past two Lava Bear defensemen and launching a falling, acrobatic goal to get the Cougars going.
Fifty seconds later, Will English scored off of a pass from Silas Wood. Suddenly, the Cougars had two goals on two shots and had knotted the game at two. After Cam Lee scored on a laser shot — the first of many on the day for Lee — Canby had battled back to nab a 3-2 lead.
Bend would not go down without a fight, though. The talented Lava Bear offense took over in the second. The Cougars had only a few shots in the period — and another goal from Lee — and at the end of the first half, the Bend offense had built their lead to four, carrying a 7-3 advantage at halftime.
After halftime, though, it was clear that the tide had shifted and it would no longer be the Bend offense on display. Instead, it was the Cam Lee show.
“Cam brings excitement to the team,” Bellmore said. “I’ve coached him for four years and I still don’t know what all I can get out of him. He’s an amazing teammate and an even better person.”
Lee brought that excitement to the second half in spades. After notching two goals in the first half, Lee doubled his output in the second. With Canby down, 4-7, the senior stepped up to move Canby back into prime position.
First, a ripper past three players. Then, another shot from the top of the key. Then, only 19 seconds later, a laser shot similar to the first goal of the game. After a Bend goal in the fourth, Lee answered with his sixth consecutive goal for the Cougars with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
After trailing by three goals, the Cougars were instantly back in the thick of things with the score tied, 8-8.
The Lava Bears quickly realized that the superhuman senior was the main offensive fixture for the Cougars. After double-teaming to no avail, Bend relied on triple-teaming when Lee got the ball down low, as well as ensuring that one defender was on him at all times — no matter how far away from the action he was.
With Lee eating up defenders, Tyler Konold took the helm, scoring a goal to give Canby their first lead in 30 minutes, leading 9-8 with 10:11 left. While the comeback was impressive, the Canby lead would not last the full 10 minutes. A Ryan Gottschalk goal tied the game back up at nine with eight minutes remaining.
Neither the Cougars nor Bears scored in the final minutes of regulation, with tensions flaring as both teams fought for the win. With five minutes left, a mini-scrum ensued after a wrestling match between Kaden Silva and Bend’s Zach Crotwell broke out in the middle of the lacrosse game.
Both players were separated by officials and quickly ejected. As they both left the field, they exchanged a hug in the penalty box. It was obvious there were no hard feelings between the two; they were just fighting hard for the win.
With both defenses giving their opponents fits, the game headed to overtime with neither team getting a shot off in the final seconds. Bellmore and his team set up a plan for the extra period.
“First things first, we wanted to win the face-off,” Bellmore said. “Get possession of the ball, call timeout, and get a set play going.”
The first steps worked out for the head coach. Canby quickly won the face-off, called a timeout and set up their play. Looking for Lee inside, the Bend defense swarmed. No shot for Canby. Now, it was time for defense.
The Cougar D held off the Bend offense for nearly three minutes, but could not stop them off forever. With nine seconds left in the overtime, Eric Brostek curled around, firing a low shot that snuck by Crowley and gave the Lava Bears a dramatic victory.
The Cougars may not have gotten the win, but they did show they could compete with an elite team.
“They’re a good team,” Bellmore said, “And that’s what we will see every week in league.”
Canby will travel to Sherwood on Tuesday before starting league play Thursday with a game against Lake Oswego. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
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