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June 25, 2022

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Union’s lacrosse state title show sport’s local growth

Youth programs will be key for Southwest Washington high school teams

By , Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

A state championship is a pretty nice legacy for the 2016 Union Lacrosse high school team.

While he soaks in the reality of the achievement, coach Tim Goodspeed said the future of the sport in Southwest Washington will depend upon continued growth of youth programs.

Union became the first program from Southwest Washington to win a Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association title, rallying for an 8-7 victory over Richland in the Division II championship match on Saturday at the Starfire Complex in Tukwila.

Union trailed 4-1 at halftime and 6-2 late in the third quarter. Senior Andrew Harrah scored four of his game-high five goals in the second half, including the tying goal with less than four minutes left and the game-winner with 42 seconds on the clock.

Goodspeed said Richland controlled possession and the tempo of the match into the third quarter as Union had untypical trouble possessing the ball. Noting that Richland had played on the road throughout the playoffs while his team was home for its first three playoff wins, Goodspeed said the travel might have contributed to the slow start.

“We were throwing passes away and we were getting the ball checked away,” Goodspeed said.

Goodspeed said that he was confident his team would score once it settled down and started executing.

“We had some key players who played like they did not want to lose,” Goodspeed said.

Among them was goalie Dominic Mendez, who finished with 12 saves. He made several challenging saves in the first half to keep Union close, and a couple late in the match to keep momentum going Union’s way.

Cayden Thompson, Jonathan Stell and Ben Morasch also scored of Union. Thompson and Stell each had one assist. Junior defender Jesse Moses fielded nine ground balls.

Only six of the 28 players on the Union playoff roster were seniors: Harrah, Thompson, Morasch, Cole Smetana, Kane Fanning and Josh Sanders.

Juniors on the team were: Mendez, Moses, Hunter Cofer, Nathan Lindquist, Chad Richards, Sam Collier, Isaiah Pratt, Jarad McKinney, Sam Rink, Scott Freese, Conner Tomseth, Parker Lindhorst, Patrick Parker, Luke Hoffman, Troy Pacheco and Jean-Carlos Ortiz-Roman. Sophomores on the team were Stell, Mickael Fulmer, Christian Boylan, Grant Froomer and Brandon Brusseau. Damen Conrad was the only freshman on the playoff roster.

The Union program figures to face a different challenge next season. As the Division II state champion, Union is likely to move up to Division I, where the state’s largest and most established programs compete. On Saturday, Bellevue won its fourth Division I state title in the past five seasons.

Lacrosse is not sanctioned by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, which governs high school sports in the state. Washington has crowned boys lacrosse high school state champions since 1979, and has had a Division II title since 1994.

Union’s victory flipped the script from 2016, when King’s Way Lacrosse lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Seattle Academy in the Division II title match. Like Union — which includes players who live within the Evergreen Public Schools boundary (most attend Union or Mountain View) — that King’s Way program had players from multiple schools.

The King’s Way Lacrosse program introduced the sport to Southwest Washington in 2005 and joined the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association in 2008. The King’s Way program has become the Columbia River program as the WHSBLA looks to add teams in Clark County. This season, Columbia River and Camas also competed in Union’s division. Skyview fielded a junior varsity team and hopes to enter a varsity squad in 2017.

Goodspeed noted that only 30 or so players stayed with his team throughout this season. A school needs 20-25 players to field an independent squad, Goodspeed said.

The coach said the jump to Division I — which King’s Way competed at for several seasons — will be positive for his returning players.

“Ultimately you want a sport that gives players another vehicle that helps them get into college,” said Goodspeed. “The better program that you play in, the better your chances are.”

Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

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