Try as he might first-year Evergreen boys lacrosse coach Zach Buckley could not get his Cougars to play with any emotion in the first half March 15 against Windsor. But something woke Evergreen up from its first-half slumber, even if it baffled Buckley as to what it was that did so.
Jakob Koons, Dylan Haga and Zach Strande each scored a pair of second-half goals as Evergreen scored eight consecutive times en route to an 8-3 victory over the visiting Wizards at Evergreen High School.
“I don’t know. A hundred percent honestly I do not know. I was screaming at them in the beginning. I screamed at them at halftime. I don’t know what woke them up, but I’m glad they woke up and we got the win,” Buckley said.
The play of Evergreen goaltender Jake Bender certainly helped the Cougars’ cause. Windsor pelted the EHS senior with 33 shots — 17 on goal, but it managed just a Joe Sanger goal with 5 minutes, 42 seconds left in the first period before scoring a pair of meaningless goals in the game’s final 30 seconds.
“Without Bender in goal we would have lost this game. We’re putting all the pressure on him and he stepped up really big for us,” Buckley said.
But the way Bender saw it he was just doing what he needed to in order to keep Evergreen afloat.
“As a goalie you always want t0 try to do that. You try to make all the saves that you can,” Bender said. “It was a good game for me, a good game for everyone in the second half.”
Evergreen sent the game into halftime tied at 1-all behind Brett Crews’ goal off a feed from Haga with 37 seconds left in the second period. Then the Cougars scored four times in the third period, including three goals in the final 1:40 to take control.
“Coach really helped us in the huddle with good words of inspiration. That boosted us a lot,” Koons said. “We all just picked up some energy in the second half.”
“The first half was pretty rough for us. We just came out super slow. We wanted to win and everything. We came out slow and not thinking. We were just kind of walking around and stuff,” Bender said. “The ball was on our half in the first half and I was taking some shots. I was trying the best I could. After halftime we got a good talk in and we really started talking (on the field) and playing focused. We just had it in the second half. We just came out to win it.”
Carson Fletcher scored Evergreen’s first goal of the second half.
Contact Michael Hicks at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.