The Wood River Warriors la-crosse team poses for a pre-season team photo. Back row, from left, coach Aaron Pra-zenka, Anders Fortuin, Zach Swanson, Travis Swanson, Luke Robertson, Asher Loomis, Hayden Thayer, Connor Lohrke, Kevin Browd-er, Evan Telford, Miles Jones, Matt Galgano, Nate Jones, Kyle Furlong and assistant coach David Dredge. Front, from left, Sage Kelly, Keegan Heneghan, Nico Gerhardt, Joseph Anderson, Leo Corrales, Gus Conrad, Bodie Bennett, Hans Heaphy and Cooper Bailey. Not pictured are Matthew Fisher, Hayes Gilman and Connor Hill.
The Wood River Warriors high school lacrosse team started the 2014 season with an exciting 6-5 overtime win over Vallivue of Caldwell in a game played at Mountain Home West Elementary Wednesday.
Hayden Thayer tallied his third goal of the game in overtime for the Warriors (1-0).
Freshman goalie Miles Jones played very well in his first start with 11 saves. He made numerous pinpoint outlet passes to midfielders streaking down the field for fast-break opportunities.
Vallivue struck first, but senior Cooper Bailey put the Warriors in front 2-1 with two quick unassisted goals by charging the cage coming in from the sideline.
Thayer anchored the Warriors attack and scored the Warriors third goal on a feed from Bailey. Leo Corrales added the fourth, splitting defenders and firing a bounce shot from 10 yards for a 4-2 halftime lead.
Vallivue out strong in the third period and carried a 5-4 lead in the fourth. With four minutes left in regulation Thayer tied the game 5-5.
An exciting final four minutes had both teams with scoring opportunities, but both goalies came up big to finish regulation tied 5-5.
In sudden death OT the possession changed several times before Thayer got the ball in the top right corner. He used a well-timed face dodge to beat his defender and reach the middle of the field, from where he buried the game winner.
Defensively Zach Swanson and Travis Swanson dished out a little brotherly love with big hits to anybody trying to cross in front of the goal. Hans Heaphy and Asher Loomis assisted the Swansons on the defensive end.
Gus Conrad, Sage Kelly and Keegan Heneghan along with Bailey did an excellent job of moving the ball around and provided exceptional speed to the midfield in transition. Anders Fortuin and Evan Telford joined Thayer on the attack.
First-year Warriors head coach Aaron Prazenka said, “I’m happy to come away with a ‘W’, but we have a lot to work on.
“Our defense had some holes that we need to close, and we really need to improve our stick skills. Clears and rides are something that will receive a lot of attention going forward.”
‘Clears’ refers to getting the ball from the defensive end to the offensive end. ‘Rides’ refers to preventing the opponent from doing the same.
Prazenska added, “This was a good benchmark game to see where we stand in the league, and provided valuable insight as to positions for players.” Former Warrior standout David Dredge is the assistant coach.
The Warriors continues their 12-game Treasure Valley Lacrosse League Boys Varsity Division 2 season on Wednesday, April 2 at 6 p.m. against Borah of Boise, also at Mountain Home West Elementary.
Home games for the Warriors in Hailey are Saturday, April 19 against Borah and Saturday, May 3 with Vallivue.
The local team plays in the seven-team TVLL Division 2 with Vallivue, Borah, Skyview of Nampa, Emmett, Meridian and the Ambrose School of Meridian.
The Warriors middle school squad has also begun practices coached by Paul Jones. Those interested in joining the team can contact Sue Galgano at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Website leaguelineup.com/woodriverwarriors.