Stampede in playoff hunt |

Stampede in playoff hunt

Submitted to The Union

The Gold Country Stampede remain in strong contention for one of the remaining Northern California Lacrosse Association playoff spots after a split of two games last weekend.

Coaches Chuck Hemmert and Ed Mortara have led the team to an impressive team record of 6-2 in the North Division and 9-5 overall.

The Stampede put themselves in position to control their own fate by winning two games the week before against division opponents the Yuba City Chiatku and Red Bluff Warriors.

On Friday, the Stampede faced No. 4 ranked Folsom United and, on Sunday, the No. 7 ranked Orangevale Rams.

A win against either team would likely move the Stampede into the top eight and contention for the league playoffs with one weekend of regular season games to go.

The matchup Friday in Folsom began as an even match, but in a pattern that has been too typical this year, penalties in the second quarter put the Stampede at a significant disadvantage.

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After being tied 4-4 at the end of the first quarter, Folsom took control in the second quarter and led 11-6 at the half as the Stampede players spent three minutes in the penalty box.

However, a strong second half has been the Stampede's strength, and they never give up or give in. The Stampede matched Folsom goal for goal in the second half with six goals by senior attackman Luke Agness. But in the end, Stampede could not overcome the second-quarter deficit and dropped the game with a final score of 19-14. Agness led all scorers with 10 goals, senior midfielder Tony Richardson added two, and attackmen Derek Adelman and J.T. Mortara added one goal each.

Following the loss against Folsom, the Stampede were left with the Sunday game in Orangevale as their chance to either remain in contention or start planning for summer vacation.

In the first half, it was clear that the Stampede had no intention of ending the season early. Although they fell behind 2-1 at the end of the first quarter, the defense did not let the Rams score again in the half.

Agness scored three goals in the second quarter and Adelman added one, and the Stampede led 5-2 at the half. In the third quarter, penalties again figured into the match, as Agness was assessed a three-minute penalty for an illegal stick, and one of his goals was disallowed. Following the penalty, the Rams scored three straight goals and closed the gap to 7-6. However, in the final quarter, an Orangevale player also had an illegal stick call and a three-minute penalty.

The defense stepped up with Demetrius Holland making three second-half steals to stop Ram drives. Keeper Nickolai Brieter held the Rams to two fourth-quarter goals and made six key saves as the game came down to the wire. Agness again led all scorers with five goals overall. Adelman and Mortara scored two goals each, and midfielders Joe Mattioni and Colby Glass each added a goal. Midfielders Ryan Owen and Peter McDowell controlled the majority of the faceoffs during the match and helped keep the ball in Stampede's possession as they took the match 11-8.

The end of the Stampede's regular season does not get any easier as they have their final home game against the No. 2 ranked Petaluma River Cats this Sunday. With several games among the top ranked teams, the league rankings will likely change in the last week of play. Gold Country will be in contention with both Orangevale and Woodcreek for the final playoff spot.

JV: Folsom 13, Gold Country 6

As the season begins to wind down, Stampede Junior Varsity continues to ramp it up.

Facing the Folsom United for the third time in the season last Friday, the junior varsity boys impressed from the beginning, demonstrating adept stick skills, ball handling, play execution and improved communication.

First quarter scoring went back and forth with each team answering the other, goal for goal. Stampede got on the board first with a goal by attackman Mason Picard. The United responded soon thereafter. The following two goals by fellow attackmen Philip Holland and Canyon Drake were countered by the Folsom team. Folsom, however took the lead with seconds to go in the quarter, leaving the score at the end of the first 4-3 in the United's favor.

Stampede began to fall behind in the second, despite a strong showing from the midfield line who played with speed, aggressiveness, and a rhythmic execution of the plays. Another goal each for Drake and Holland brought the score at the half to 8-5 for the United.

The Stampede were playing strong and feeling energized at the half, but they were unable to continue their momentum. Folsom's goalie fended off thirteen shot attempts, holding Stampede to only one goal by Holland in the second half of the game.

The Junior Varsity team wraps up their season this Saturday against the Woodcreek Timberwolves.

U15: Sierra Foothill 16,

Gold Country 3

The Gold Country Stampede's under-15 lacrosse team lost to the Sierra Foothills' Eagles Saturday.

The Eagles have the more experienced team and the scoring reflected it as they scored five goals in the each of the first two periods and three goals in the both the second and third periods.

The Eagles also had somewhat of a home field advantage – they are used to playing on their natural turf field with very unpredictable bounces.

Surprisingly, the Eagles leading scorer was a defenseman. The Stampede scored a goal in each of the second, third, and fourth periods.

Midfielders Drew Heaps and Bailey Ferrier scored the Stampede's goals. Heaps had two goals and Ferrier had one goal.

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