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Clash of the titans

Boys lacrosse: Tigard gets a 15-5 win over Tualatin in a battle of North Valley League unbeatens
by: DAN BROOD, CRASH — Tualatin’s Zach Edwards (left) and Tigard’s Sean Stebbins fight for the ball in the North Valley League showdown. The Tigers scored a 15-5 victory.

TIGARD - It was a classic match-up.

One team was the defending league champion, looking to reign supreme again.

The other team was a second-year upstart, ready to make its presence known in a big way.

Oh yeah, sole possession of first place in the North Valley League was at stake as both teams entered the game unscathed in league play.

To cap it all off, it was Tigard against Tualatin - and that always seems to add to the intensity.

With all of that in mind the Tigard High School boys lacrosse team took a big step toward winning another North Valley League championship by scoring a 15-5 win over the Wolves in a league contest played Friday at Tigard High.

'This was a huge win,' said Tigard junior midfielder Sean Stebbins, who led all scorers with five goals. 'We stepped it up and played our game - we played Tigard lacrosse.'

With the win, Tigard improved to 8-0 in league play while moving to 11-3 on the season.

Tualatin, in just its second season playing at the varsity level, fell to 6-1 in league games while moving to 8-3 on the season.

'We tried,' said Tualatin senior Jerek Laursen, who led the Timberwolves with three goals. 'We're just a second-year varsity team, but it's a new season and we sprouted to the next level. But, in this game, we were on edge.'

The more-experienced Tigard team didn't seem to be on edge at all in Friday's showdown.

'We were fired up and ready to go,' Stebbins said.

It showed. The Tigers took control early, grabbing a 5-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

'We had a huge start,' Stebbins said. 'That got us all pumped up and excited.'

Stebbins got the scoring started with a goal from 12 yards out off a pass from junior Jonathon Langvin coming less than two minutes into the contest.

Freshman Cutter Baldock notched the second goal for the Tigers. Sophomore Omar Horani, after a 60-yard run down the field, scored a driving shot from close range to give Tigard a 3-0 lead with 3 minutes and 43 seconds left to play in the first quarter.

Langvin scored a pair of goals before the period ended, giving the Tigers a 5-0 advantage going into the second quarter.

'They took the first quarter and kept going,' Laursen said.

The Tigers did keep rolling early in the second quarter. Tigard junior Dillon Grover scored off an assist from Stebbins and sophomore Shan Saunders and senior Andrew Cox added goals to up the Tigard lead to 8-0 with 8:58 remaining in the second quarter.

But Tualatin kept battling.

The Timberwolves broke through and got on the scoreboard on a goal by Laursen, coming off a pinpoint lob pass from Kevin Able coming with 8:14 left in the first half.

Tigard answered with a goal by Stebbins, off an assist from Grover, giving the Tigers a 9-1 lead at halftime.

Laursen tallied another goal for Tualatin to start the third quarter. But Tigard countered with goals by Stebbins and junior Tanner Dean, giving the Tigers an 11-2 lead going into the fourth.

Cox added another Tiger goal in the first half minute of the fourth quarter, giving Tigard a double-digit lead to 12-2.

But, still, the Timberwolves kept fighting. Tualatin notched back-to-back goals, coming from John Triesche and Will Pierce, cutting the lead to 12-4 with 7:51 remaining in the game.

Stebbins and Laursen traded goals, leaving the Tigers with a 13-5 lead with 5:12 left to play. Tigard, getting late goals from Grover and Cox, wrapped up its 15-5 victory and kept its goal of a perfect league season intact.

'That's a big goal,' Stebbins said. 'This was a great win - it's a huge rivalry.'

Tigard had 25 shots on goal in the contest with the Wolves getting 14. Tigard senior goalie Gino Valenziano, playing the first half, had five saves. Junior Keith Garner, playing the second half in goal for the Tigers, had four saves. Tigard also got strong play from its defense, including senior Jake Moriniti, freshman Colin O'Neil, junior Travis Horton, sophomore Brad Ball and senior Jacob Lemieux among others.

Tualatin goalie Nate King had 10 saves in the contest.