Monday, May 26, 2014

Sisters and Inaugural State Championships

Following their third straight HSLL title, the Grizzlies travelled to Sisters, Oregon for the Sisters Annual Lacrosse Invitational (SALI). The team had closed the season with SALI in 2012 and 2013, but this year SALI provided games and additional time to improve before the inaugural state finals on Memorial Day weekend.

The Grizzlies arrived in Sisters and played 5 games over three days. Four of the games went well for the Grizzlies (McNary, Sisters, Mountain View, and Redmond), and one game went horribly wrong (Summit). The four games vs. the "non-Summit" teams set Galena against well matched teams. Each of the games resulted in a regulation Galena victory. However, Summit, who Galena beat in 2012 and lost to twice in 2013, created somewhat of a mis-match. The Summit team thoroughly outplayed the Grizzlies by dominating possession, playing stifling defense, and finishing on all shot opportunities. Luckily, Galena recovered in the two games played after Summit to salvage a 4-1 showing at the SALI event.

The HSLL, SNLA, and NWLA partnered to host the inaugural Nevada State Lacrosse Championship on May 24th, 2014 at Heritage Park in Henderson, Nevada. The top two varsity boy's and girl's teams from each league descended on Heritage Park to begin a tradition of the top teams from the State playing one another for a championship. Though this event did not include teams from the SSLL, another Southern Nevada Boy's League, the sponsoring leagues and US Lacrosse all supported this event.

As the top teams from the HSLL, Galena and Reno (Huskies) travelled south to play Green Valley and Bishop Gorman. Bishop Gorman won the SNLA and would be the top seeded team from the south. As noted earlier, Galena represented the top seeded team from the north. Though four teams made the event, the finals were already set to host Galena vs. Bishop Gorman. The preceding games (Reno vs. Bishop Gorman and Galena vs. Green Valley) did not hold any bearing on the finals and were played as "novelty games" to showcase the partnership between the leagues.

Galena started the day off against Green Valley and played a pretty strong first half. The Grizzlies went into halftime with a 6-3 lead. In the second half, the team had wanted to limit the play of the top lines as the team travelled light to the event missing three top middies and a handful of other varsity-level players. Green Valley did not seem to care about Galena wanting to rest players and continued playing hard. Galena took a 9-5 lead into the fourth quarter, and wound up keeping Green Valley at bay escaping with a 11-8 victory, which was a little too close for comfort. The Galena players took to the shade of the hotels for the afternoon and rested up before the next game.

It's not very often that teams play a "semi-final" and a final for a state championship in the same day. However, this is Nevada and moreover, something new for lacrosse in the state. The Galena team was excited to be playing in the state finals and it was an honor to represent the league. The game started off with Bishop Gorman dominating play ending the first quarter with a 2-0 lead. Galena answered back in the second quarter with two goals to Gorman's three to go into halftime down by three. Two of Gorman's goals in the second came from their man-up unit as Galena served a two-minute non-releasable penalty. That penalty was two things: 1.) highly questionable, and 2.) Galena's only penalty of the game. Without that penalty, it would have been a one-point game to start the second half. After halftime, the Grizzlies came out with a bit more confidence and played hard, but Gorman continued to answer Galena's goals. The third quarter ended 7-3 in Gorman's advantage. Galena wound up adding two more in the fourth, but Gorman answered each one to keep Galena in the basement. Gorman ultimately emerged victorious with a 10-5 victory.

Our thanks to Bishop Gorman for a great game and to the SNLA for hosting our team.


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