Wildcats outscore first six conference opponents 117-15

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Wilsonville senior Abby Chase, a returning first-team all-state honoree, is among the state leaders in points per game. Above, Chase draws the attention of numerous defenders as she fires a shot April 8 at home against Century.As a light drizzle fell at Randall Stadium, coach Scott Chase marveled at how far the Wilsonville girls lacrosse team has come.

Indeed, in a span of about five years, it went from being in danger of nonexistence to being among the top programs in Oregon.

But with the linchpins of the team in the final chapter of their careers, Chase didn’t hesitate to express the chief goal for the season.

“We’re here to win state,” he said after the fifth-ranked Wildcats thumped Hillsboro-Century 19-3 in a league game April 8. “That was my goal five years ago. We’ve consistently gotten better, and the talent on the team has gotten better through the youth and up into the high school. We want to keep it rolling.”

“Rolling” only begins to describe the program through seven games. Since defeating Beaverton 16-10 in a preseason clash on the road March 17 to start its campaign, Wilsonville (7-0, 6-0 in the Northwest League) has decimated its league opponents as it strives for postseason glory after reaching the state semifinals last year.

The Wildcats outscored opponents by a whopping tally of 117-15 in their first six league duels, trying to hone their skills as they prepare to meet the state’s best teams in the playoffs.

“We wish our conference was stronger,” Chase said. “We’re trying to play as perfect a game as possible, where we’re within the attack, where we’re moving and not stagnant. We’ve got to look toward the future, towards the end of the season.”

Chase hoped that an April 22 game in Wilsonville against top-ranked West Linn (9-0) — the only other undefeated team in the state — would help his players get ready for the playoffs. Last year, the Wildcats fell 12-4 to the Lions in a nonconference loss that Chase used as a reminder for his team.

“West Linn will be a big challenge,” Chase said.

Wilsonville’s success this season has been due in large part to its Big Four: star seniors Abby Chase and Alexa Dube and standout sophomores Jocelyn Welberg and Alex Monello.

Chase accrued 43 points through seven games, including a season-high eight points in the team’s 22-7 rout of Tualatin on the road April 11. The reigning first-team all-state honoree also had 16 assists and 44 draws controlled during that span, her dominance in draws making it easy for the Wildcats to control possession for long stretches at a time.

Dube had racked up 43 points through seven games as well, including a five-goal, four-assist effort at Tualatin. The second-team all-state honoree has tallied 18 assists.

Chase, Dube and Welberg (21 goals, 11 assists) are all ranked in the top 10 in the state in points per game. Monello (22 goals) has also made key contributions.

The quartet is tasked with speeding up the development of a talented but less-experienced roster that includes Brittney Whitlock, Anna Dennis and Bailey Kummerman, among others.

“They’re trying to be good motivators,” Chase said of the seasoned leaders. “We’re clicking as well as we were towards the end of last season, but we want to get (the younger players’) confidence level up so when we’re playing the OESes and the Sunsets of the world, they’re confident enough to take on that challenge.”

By Jeff Goodman
Sports editor
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