This past weekend, the Gold Country Stampede varsity and junior varsity lacrosse squads both finished out the season with strong performances and solidified their playoff seedings.
The varsity will travel to Petaluma Sunday for a rematch with the Rivercats, and the JVs will host Rancho Cotati at home on Saturday for the quarterfinal rounds of the Northern California championships.
Going into the final weekend of the regular season, the Gold Country varsity lacrosse squad was ranked sixth in Northern California. With a win and a loss in two games over the weekend, the Stampede moved up in the rankings to fifth place on Sunday and is poised to enter the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
On Saturday, the Stampede traveled to south Sacramento to take on the Pleasant Grove Eagles. The Eagles are not one of the stronger teams in the conference this year, so this was a game the Stampede should have won and did, 10-4.
On a grass field that slowed the action considerably, the Eagles kept pace with Gold Country in the first quarter, but by halftime, the Stampede led 5-2. Senior Ryan Owen led first half scoring with two goals. In the second half, Junior attackman Derek Adelman put the game out of reach with 4 goals, including one blind backwards shot over his shoulder. Adelman finished with 5 goals for the game. Joe Matteoni had two goals, and Dominic Duarte added one.
Keeper Dylan Hopkins continued his strong season with 13 saves. Peter McDowell dominated in faceoffs, winning 12 of 15 opportunities, and added two assists.
Following Saturdays convincing win over Pleasant Grove, The varsity Stampede had a tough time against Northern California ‘s No. 3 ranked team, the Elk Grove Gladiators on Sunday. Playing hard in the first half with quality team work the Stampede trailed 5-3 at halftime.
With several Stampede starting players sitting out this game with injuries and flu, the Gladiators lived up to their name and extended their lead 9-5 at the end of the third quarter and eventually winning the game 14-5.
Adelman again led the Stampede in scoring with two goals and an assist. Sam LaHaie scored and had two assists as did Owen. McDowell also found the net for a score.
Goalie Hopkins was under attack much of the game but recorded 12 saves, playing hard all game. Contributing by getting the ball upfield was Jason Slattery.
This was the last home game of their careers for Seniors Owen, a three-year Varsity starter, Nikolai Brieter, a two-year varsity starter and Stone Hoops, Amani Senegal and Nathan Gornie. After the game, Coach Mortara personally thanked all seniors for their commitment to the club and the sport, and wished them well as they move on to college and their next careers.
The Stampede will hit the road next weekend in the first round of the Northern California Lacrosse Playoffs.
“We played well this weekend,” Mortara said. “We are in the playoffs and if we can get some players back and healthy we can surprise some teams. I am proud of the discipline our team showed under some challenging conditions with key players hurt”.
The Stampede encourage fans to come out and see the JV’s take on Rancho Cotati Saturday at NU’s Hooper Stadium. The Stampede U11 team plays the Fair Oaks Colts at 10 a.m., the U13 team takes on Stockton at 11:30 a.m., and the JV’s start at 1:30 a.m.
After a long Spring break, the Stampede junior varsity played two exciting games over the weekend.
On Saturday they jumped into action against Pleasant Grove Red. The ﬁrst period was rough as the Stampede adjusted to running and scooping up balls in the unruly tall grass while Pleasant Grove Red scored three goals on their home turf.
In the second period, the Stampede started to hit their stride scoring two goals coming from Mason Picard and Ben O’Lena.
The second half started with Pleasant Grove quickly scoring two points as the Stampede worked to get their passes to connect and capture the elusive ground balls. Then Toran Maronic charged in and turned the ball to Stampede’s possession, passed it to Steffen Holland who sent it to Picard, who made a ‘quick stick’ score. This set off a series of successful shots as the Stampede players Jimmy Vaughn, Philip Holland and Picard made three more goals in succession giving Stampede a momentary 6-5 lead before Pleasant Grove scored two more. In the fourth period the score was tied 7-7 when Steffen Holland assisted brother Philip in an epic shot on goal in their “Hurricane Holland” fashion. Two minutes later Pleasant Grove scored again and held their lead until the last 7 seconds of the game. During this time, the Stampede tried ﬁercely to tie the score again but Pleasant Grove’s defense played on the crease, locking down their goal with very little sliding. A time out was called with 7 seconds remaining on the clock. When play ensued, Picard charged across the ﬁeld and hurled the ball to Maronic who made a beautiful shot on goal but the ofﬁcials claimed that the clock had run out leaving the ﬁnal score a loss for Stampede, 8-7.
Early Sunday morning the Stampede was on their home turf at NU’s Hooper Stadium ready for their last league game of the season against Elk Grove before moving on to the playoffs next weekend due to their No. 2 ranking in league and No. 4 overall standings.
The Stampede woke up the game with a 5-2 lead in the ﬁrst period as Picard wove through Elk Grove’s defense combining his legendary split dodges and roll dodges to maneuver his way to the goal for his ﬁrst three points of the game. O’Lena ran the length of the ﬁeld for his goal and Philip Holland scored off of his own rebound. The remaining scores of the game were put in by O’Lena, Picard (five additional) and Maronic, while on defense Connor Hollister energized the game and interrupted Elk Groves passes. Mitchell Glass on LSM and Owen Warner on middie effectively supported defense, and 10 saves were made by goalie Kennen Beall for a ﬁnal Stampede victory of 12-6.
Head Coach Donn Demostene with his love of the technical aspect of lacrosse and sincere appreciation of every individual on his team was thrilled to have the opportunity to play all his players and see them shine. He praised Dannon Ivey’s vigorous runs, defense work and impressive attempt on goal, Matt Featherston’s great game which included stopping a shot with his face, Zach Hash’s defense run as well as Brendan Slattery’s actions.
“It was a great game to end the season on,” Demostene said. “The team worked well and supported each other as they should. The starting lines and players truly supported the play time of the rest of the team which is not usually the case. I look forward to the coming weeks of lacrosse in the playoffs. I believe we will continue to surprise the other teams with our determination. As always, this teams
success is because of a collective effort of many people, most recently from varsity’s assistant coach J.T. Mortara and varsity player Ryan Owen.
The Gold Country Stampede’s U13 team was dealt their first loss of the season by Pleasant Grove Eagles in a tough hard fought matchup.
Saturday’s foggy cold morning game in Elk Grove began with Pleasant Grove winning the opening face off, blazing toward the goal and scoring. The Eagles were physical and aggressive from the start and Gold Country took a while to rev up their energy level and match their intensity.
Attackman Matt Hansen snatched a flying loose ball close to Pleasant Grove’s goal and put it in to tie the contest 1-1.
The soggy grass field created difficult and sometimes long battles for loose balls. The clubs traded goals and attacks before the half with Gold Country up 5-3. In the second half, Pleasant Grove had some long successful outlet passes that resulted in goals tying things up.
Then Pleasant Grove scored and took the lead and was able to fight off repeated Gold Country attempts to hold on and deliver the Stampede their first loss of the season.
The goalies Reid Young and Millen Zimmerman were impressive stopping many fiery shots on goal and had nine saves and seven saves respectively.
Matt Hansen, Mike Trujillo, Carsten Sielbels, Tre Maronic, and Dylan Scott contributed Gold Country goals.
The Stampede U13 plays two games next weekend.
The Gold Country Stampede U-11 team took their 7-1 record into a critical game against the Elk Grove Gladiators on Saturday morning at Hooper Stadium.
The Gladiators gave the Stampede all they could handle in the first half, with the Stampede clinging to a 3-2 lead.
Colton Coughran started the scoring for the Stampede with two first half goals. Reece Bacon added a solo shot after a run up the middle through three Gladiator defenders.
The Stampede came out hot in the third, with two more goals from Coughran, and a score from Nolan Kennedy.
The fourth quarter saw the Stampede close out the game strong, with another goal from Colton Coughran and one from Tyler Dzioba to end the game with a 9-5 win.
The Stampede defense once again battled all day, with Wyatt Flansburg tending the net, ending the game with nine crucial saves.
Sam Walker and Jacob McCrea anchored the defense, turning back the Elk Grove attack with help from Flynn Baer and Shawn Rashby.
The U-11 Team takes the field again on Saturday at Hooper Stadium with a 10 a.m. game against the Fair Oaks Colts, seeking a little payback for their only loss of the season.