The Gold Country Stampede varsity club continued their current winning streak with a close win, 9-8, over the Stockton Spartans Saturday at the University of the Pacific.
With a record of 3-2 and a recent win over Woodcreek, the Spartans are one of the stronger teams in the NCJLA Central Valley South Division and a contender for a post-season playoff spot.
At the mid-point of the season, the Stampede’s playoff hopes are also very much alive with a 4-3 record entering the contest with Stockton.
The game started in the worst possible way for the Stampede with the Spartans scoring five straight unanswered goals in the first quarter.
A timeout called by Stampede head coach Ed Mortara toward the end of the first quarter regrouped the varsity squad, and by half the Stampede had closed the gap, trailing by one goal, 6-5.
In the second half, the Stampede continued to display the balanced attack that has been the key to their victories this year, outscoring Stockton 4-2.
With a 9-8 lead and two minutes to go, the Spartans mounted a furious attack in an attempt to even the score, but defenders Daniel Heaps, Cade Mathews and Amani Senegal fought off every attempt and keeper Dylan Hopkins had three critical saves to seal the win.
For the game, seven different players scored. Junior attackman Derek Adelman led the team with two goals and four assists. Sam La Haie also had two goals, and Joe Mattioni, Peter McDowell, Colby Glass, Drew Heaps and Alex Abreu added one goal each. Ryan Owen won 5-of-6 faceoffs, and McDowell controlled 6-of-10 opportunities.
Keeper Hopkins had nine saves for the day.
Gold Country 13, Pleasant Grove 6
On a beautiful spring day in Colfax, the Stampede had five different players score against the visiting Pleasant Grove Eagles in a dominating 13-6 win.
“We played strong again and had an outstanding balanced scoring machine with multiple players able to put the ball in the cage,” Mortara said.
The Stampede’s youngest varsity player, Drew Heaps had four goals as did veteran player Adelman. Owens and Matteoni scored two goals each and Glass found the net for a score. Abreu contributed with a team leading three assists.
Defensively, goalie Hopkins played another strong game with 12 saves. Emerson Helmuth, Glass, Mathews and Senegal played hard the whole game and recovered several balls against the Eagles.
A sizable and appreciative crowd enjoyed this first ever lacrosse game played in Colfax and the Stampede moved to 6-3 overall with their back to back victories.
The varsity plays Sierra Foothills Friday night, and will seek to stay even with the Chico Rebels at the top of the NCJLA North Division.
JV: Stampede sweeps weekend games
It was a victorious weekend for the Gold Country Stampede junior varsity team, defeating El Dorado Hills 15-6 on Friday night and Woodcreek 16-1 Sunday morning.
In the game against El Dorado Hills, who the Stampede had beat 10-3 the weekend before, there was a shocking start to the game as the Trojans were immediately up by two points.
Stampede’s response to the Trojans’ lead was swift and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Philip Holland, whose four goals were made in rapid succession, was joined in scoring by Steffen Holland and Jimmy Vaughn making the score 6-2 at the end of the ﬁrst quarter.
Ben O’Lena played a supportive role in the ﬁrst quarter when he snatched the face-off ball, popped up by Toran Maronic, moved it down the ﬁeld and passed it to Philip Holland, who scored.
The second, third and fourth quarters saw goals by the dependable forces of Mason Picard, Philip Holland and Toran Maronic. Then, as coach Sam Carroll noted, we saw some new scorers.
“We were able to play a bunch of our ﬁrst year players and they were able to make some moves,” Carroll said. “A couple of our players scored their ﬁrst goals ever.”
One was by second year player Ryan Herbert who took a shot from above the cage in the midﬁeld rotation during a 13 motion offensive formation making a successful shot on goal. The other came from ﬁrst year player Ben O’Lena who made a true fast-break, getting to the goal and shooting before the rest of the midﬁeld/attack offense set up.
Sunday morning found Stampede JV focused on Woodcreek, the team they fought hard against, went into sudden death overtime, and ultimately beat in Redding.
Before the game coach Donn Demostene’s said the Stampede team is getting better and smarter as the season progresses.
“We introduced a lot of new lacrosse plays to the team this week,” he said. “We really increased their lacrosse IQ. We got seven or eight points out of our new plays on Friday night. This is a great team and I’m excited to see what happens next.”
With their improved lacrosse IQ, along with weeks of disciplined practice since they last encountered Woodcreek it was evident the Stampede were on another level.
The consistent scoring forces of Picard (7), Philip Holland (3) and Steffen Holland were joined this game by Herbert, O’Lena (3) and by ﬁrst year player Asher Fong, who after catching a pass fed by Picard made a jump shot and scored his ﬁrst lacrosse goal. Toran Maronic stood out with his successful face-off draws and the team worked together well with 10 different players recovering ground balls and keeping the ball in the Stampede sticks.
U13: Gold Country 6, El Dorado 5
It was a day full of challenges, both from the other team and the choppy field, for the Gold Country Stampede. In the end, it was solid teamwork, and extra effort that propelled the Stampede to a 6-4 win over El Dorado.
The Stampede took control early in the first period with a solo shot by Tre Maronic., followed by a well-placed pass from Michael Trujillo to Reid Young, who turned with a quick shot and goal. The Stampede took a 2-0 lead.
Despite solid Stampede defense, El Dorado still managed a shot on Stampede goalie, Millen Zimmerman, who made a great save. A barrage of shots by the Stampede ended in a pass from Maronic to Trujillo for another score. The quarter ended with an El Dorado goal, while the Stampede was a man down. The Stampede still controlled the game with a 3-1 score.
The Stampede opened the second quarter firing on all cylinders, with a number of shots. The first, from Chandler Brown, was blocked. But then defender Danny Grattan rushed up the center of the field and handed a spot-on pass to Trujillo, who scored on a well-placed shot. Less than a minute later, Mason Zimmerman fed Maronic, who scored on a beautiful low shot. El Dorado answered with another goal not long after to make it a 5-2 game. Groups of players fighting for ground balls filled the rest of the quarter, with El Dorado scoring once more before the half.
With a 5-3 Stampede lead, the second half saw Young take over for goalie. The Stampede held the ball in El Dorado territory for much of the quarter with shots by Maronic, Trujillo, and Zimmerman. The rush ended in a Maronic goal after a feed by Zimmerman. Stampede went up 6-3. El Dorado kept the pressure on the last couple minutes of the quarter.
A quick El Dorado goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter made it a 6-4 game. After this, the Stampede offense came to life a bit with several shots, but none of them found their way into the net. The rest of the quarter was physical and tense with Carsten Siebels doing his best impression of an NFL running back, and Young making a couple of key saves.
Next up are back-to-back games against the Chico Rebels and the Pleasant Grove Eagles on Saturday.