It seems that every coach hates spring break because it often takes away whatever momentum their team has built. But the break might have come at a good time this year for the West Linn boys lacrosse team.
That extra time will give Ryan Janoff and Nick Peppler, two of the team's best players, a better chance to fully heal from injuries they suffered early in the season. Both are expected to be back when the Lions return to action next Tuesday against Riverdale, which is a newcomer to the Three Rivers League.
Janoff and Peppler definitely will be needed two days later when West Linn hosts Lincoln, which is considered one of the favorites for this year's state title. Then on Saturday of that week, West Linn will travel to Oregon Episcopal School, which made it to the state title game each of the last four years.
The schedule also seemed to work in West Linn's favor last week when the short-handed Lions were matched up against Putnam and Oregon City, two of the weaker teams in the TRL. The Lions beat Putnam 10-6 and then handled Oregon City by a 13-0 score on Thursday.
'The scheduling kind of worked out for us,' West Linn coach Mark Flood noted. 'We had those two games last week that we should win (and did). And then we've got spring break.'
The Oregon City game went almost according to script for the Lions. They were strong on offense and maybe even better on defense, and everyone got a significant amount of playing time.
Four players tied for scoring honors in that game as Xander Waibel, Spencer Smith, Eddy O'Mara and Jeff Janoff scored two goals each. Waibel also contributed an assist to the cause. In addition, five other players, including freshm3n Maks Gerber and Michael Fay, had one goal each.
At the other end of the field, goalies Joey Peterson and Drew Forseth shared the shutout honors while playing one half each in the net. Peterson had an easy night and didn't have to face a shot, which was a credit to the defensive line. Forseth, though, had to make a couple of tough saves.
Maybe the best part of the game was West Linn's improved play in man-up situations. The Lions struggled in that area a year ago but they connected on five of eight man-up opportunities against the Pioneers. And the defense denied all six of Oregon City's man-advantage chances.
The Lions also won 13 of 17 face-offs with Ryan Squires, Shannon Sirvaitis, Smith, Ian Boucher and Jeff Janoff all sharing those duties.
Sirvaitis also chased down eight ground balls for the second straight league game. That's been an important factor in getting West Linn's offense started.
'He's not getting a lot of goals but he's doing everything else really well,' Flood said of Sirvaitis' play.
Before heading out on spring break, the West Linn team got a chance to scrimmage for two hours at the Rose Garden before a Portland Lumberjax game last Saturday.
'It was a lot of fun,' Flood said.