Gold Country Stampede started the 2014 lacrosse season with an outstanding club performance in the Redding Jamboree last weekend, winning eight of their nine games played.
The weather couldn’t have been better, and with Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen both in view from the Big League Dreams Facility.
The Stampede varsity finished 3-0, junior varsity finished 2-1, and U13s finished 3-0.
As with many recent Olympic events, Gold Country’s teams could not win the season during these first rounds, but they could have taken themselves out contention. With their wins on Saturday and Sunday, all teams have put themselves into great positions for winning seasons.
The Stampede varsity is making a statement early this year, defeating the South Valley Chiefs 10-8, Rancho Cotati 14-8, and Redding 9-4. The win over the South Valley Chiefs was particularly impressive since the Chiefs were 9-3 last year and won their division.
One of the Varsity’s main concerns this year is replacing the offensive production of last year’s stars, Luke Agnes and J.T. Mortara. The answer this past weekend was a very balanced scoring attack, with important contributions from players brought up to the varsity level.
In the last game against Redding, seven different players scored, with two of the youngest players on the team, Drew Heaps (eighth-grade) and Jackson Sanders (sophomore) scoring two each.
For the tournament, Derek Adelman and Peter McDowell tied for scoring leader with eight goals each, with Drew Heaps coming in second with four goals. This year’s varsity club also includes players from Colfax for the first time, Sam LaHaie, Jason Slatterly, Dominic Duarte and Dylan Hopkins. LaHaie led Colfax’s contribution with three goals, tying Colby Glass and Joe Mattioni who also had three goals each.
Gold Country is known for physical play, and last weekend was no exception. A Rancho Cotati player broke a metal stick over McDowell’s forearm in the second game, and there were numerous penalties on both sides in all three games.
However, Stampede’s defense was strong, and in particular, their man-down defense kept them in the games during penalty minutes. Daniel Heaps, Cade Mathews and Amani Senegal all played excellent defense and keepers Nikolai Breiter and Dylan Hopkins combined for 44 saves. Breiter also had a rare assist for a goalie, taking the ball the length of the field against Redding before feeding it to Drew Heaps for the goal.
Last weekend’s jamboree matches marked the club’s first official games since the passing of one of the club founders and National Lacrosse Hall of Fame player Avery Blake. This year, all club players are recognizing Avery’s contribution to Stampede lacrosse with helmet decals with Avery’s number “40.” “I’m sure Avery was smiling today,” head coach Ed Mortara said after the games.
Coach Andy Shoop added “You know he was! Incredible weekend!”
Gold Country Stampede’s next home game will be against the Folsom Falcons at March 7.
For wrap ups from the junior varsity, U13 and U11 teams visit www.TheUnion.com and click on this story.
Thrilling Victories for JV Gold Country Stampede
The JV Gold Country Stampede lacrosse team had a spectacular start to their 2014
season with two wins and one loss at the Redding Lacrosse Jamboree last weekend.
The team fought hard in the first game, found victory in the second and concluded their third
with an exhilarating win in sudden death overtime.
In their first game, played against the Elk Grove Gladiators, the Stampede thundered
across the field striving for a victory. They started off strong and were ahead by two at
the end of the first quarter and ahead, 4-2, at halftime.
“They definitely set the tempo for the first half of the game,” Coach Donn Demostene said.
The scoring was led by Mason Picard with three goals, followed by Phillip Holland and Toran Maronic with one goal each for a game total of five.
Though Elk Grove ultimately made seven goals, the Stampede’s defense powered by Jimmy Vaughn, Jason Demostene, Conner Hollister and Ryan MacDonald made them work hard for those points and goalie Kennen Beall mastered seven saves.
“the team got a little tired at the end but that is something we can work on,” Demostene said. “For our first division game, our first game of the season, I think we did outstanding.”
The Stampede looked determined when they entered the stadium that evening to play their second game against the Pleasant Grove Blue and that determination payed off with a 13 to 6 victory. It was a great team effort with goals scored by Mason Picard (5), Phillip Holland (5), Steffen Holland, Jimmy Vaughn and Jason Demostene.
Goalie Noah Mertens was relentless throughout the game making a total of 14 saves.
Coach Sam Carroll summed up their first two games well with these words, “We came off a rough game this morning, saw some weaknesses, and were able to make adjustments and keep our guys fresh through this second game. They all played very well with a lot of heart and we came away with a win. They all acted with honor and respect and I am very proud to be their coach. It was a great opening for our season.”
For their final game, the Stampede triumphed over Woodcreek 8-7 in a game that played out like a wild roller coaster ride. Woodcreek was ahead, 2-1, at the end of the first period, and they held their lead at the end of the second period, 3-2. In the third period the heat was on as Woodcreek led, 5-2, but the Stampede was fearless and had brilliant shows of teamwork. Fifteen players contributed to ground ball recoveries throughout the game keeping the ball in the Stampede’s possession. The fourth period is
when Stampede showed their might with a great comeback of five goals tying the score 7-7. The game went into overtime and the winning goal was made by Mason Picard.
U13 opens the season with 3 wins
The U13 Stampede team launched their season this weekend in Redding during unusual 70 degree sunny February skies.
The Redding Lacrosse Jamboree brought together teams from northern California to the state-of-the-art Redding Soccer Park and Sports facility.
The first of three games was against Folsom with lots of shots on goal, good passing, and some great physical play in the first half. Gold Country’s U13 team has doubled in size from last year and was able sub new fresh players throughout the game. The second half got off to a quick start with several shots on goal in the first two minutes of play. Austin Breyer was able to penetrate Folsom’s defense pass off to Reid Young who quickly fed Matthew Hansen who shot and scored.
In the fourth quarter the team worked on patience and passing, their defense and hustle secured the win 5-1. Gold Country goalie Millen Simmerman had four saves and was key to the defense which was very tough to score on.
Game two was played under the lights Saturday night against Elk Grove. The game quickly became a showcase of passing, assists, shots, and an amazing variety of goals by Gold Country. Millen Zimmerman started the action followed by goals by Matt Hansen, and Tre Maronic. Carston Siebels intercepted a pass ran the length of the field dodging and weaving defenders and took a dramatic shot on goal that produced the fourth goal of the game. The Stampede’s confidence swelled and shortly after Tanner Takahashi broke through defenses and executed a beautiful pass assist to Matt Hansen who was in perfect position for the shot made it 5-0. Before the half ended Mason Zimmerman received a nice pass, shot and scored. Later, Tre Maronic ran through the defenses and slung a tough-to-handle side arm shot to also score.
In the second half several of the offensive starters switched to defense and many of the new players rotated in to get some valuable experience and playtime. Young, playing goalie made a stop, ran the entire field eluding defenders, going behind goal and feeding a waiting Hansen for an impressive goal that had the sideline cheering. Additional scores included Tre Maronic with a wraparound and Jackson Matteini and Bennett Schillinger. Seven different players scored a total of 13 goals. The defense made many of these goals possible by creating and winning ground balls and executing successful outlet passes. Elk Grove fought hard and finally succeeded in scoring late in the third quarter. The final score was 13-1 in favor of Gold Country.
The third game was the strongest matchup of the weekend, playing against a traditionally strong squad from Pleasant Grove.
Quickly apparent that this was going to be a different contest than the romp the night before, the teams traded hard fought goals. Several penalties created opportunities for both teams have opportunities with players out for 30 seconds up to two minutes at a time. Hard hitting scrappy play, aggressive drives, tough swarming defense from both sides resulted in a 2-2 tie at the end of the first quarter and Gold Country was behind 5-4 at the half.
To break things open, Young made a nice stop then vacated the goal and ran the field through swarming slashing defenders made a distressed last moment pass to Zimmerman who scored. Pleasant Grove answered quickly with another goal. A ricocheted shot by Gold Country off one of the players and miraculously went in the goal to put GC ahead.
Late in the game patient passing eventually gave Hansen a good shot to score the final goal and allowed the Stampede to win 8-6.
Coach Hansen expressed his pride in all the players. He said pleasant Grove is a very good team and a good test for our players.
This looks to be a very exciting year for the U13 squad with about half of the team returning players and about new members. The dramatic growth of the program due to several factors including a dedicated coaching staff, heavily involved parent/volunteer participation and organization, and the excitement of this fast moving action packed sport that the players and spectators love. The next game is at 10 a.m. Saturday against Granite Bay at Nevada Union High School.
U11 opens season with scrimmage
The Stampede U-11 Team saw their first action of the year in a scrimmage against the Sierra Foothill League Team from Loomis.
They lost the first game 8-6, but came back strong in game two, winning 7-6.
Colton Coughran of the Stampede led all scorers with seven goals in the two games.
Tyler Dzioba contributed four goals, with Sam Walker and Conner Trujillo each adding a goal to close out the scoring. The Stampede saw solid play from both of their goalies. Luke Peevey had four saves in game one, before Shawn Rashby tended the net in game two, with five saves.