The Wood River Warriors high school lacrosse team is headed to its league championship game for the first time.
No. 2-seeded Wood River (12-2-0) defeated the No. 3-seeded Vallivue Falcons from Caldwell 9-5 in Wednesday’s semi-final game of the Treasure Valley Lacrosse League (TVLL) Division 2 tournament. Vallivue’s season ended with a 9-6 record.
In the playoff game played at Mountain Home West Elementary School, Warriors Cooper Bailey and Gus Conrad showed the benefits of senior leadership.
Bailey (35 goals, 11 assists season) scored four goals with two assists, while Conrad (11 goals, 8 assists season) was dominant in the faceoffs.
Wood River earned the right to face top-seeded Borah High School of Boise in next Wednesday’s TVLL championship game at Eagle High School west of Boise.
In Wednesday’s other semi-final of the seven-team league tournament, Borah (13-3-0) held off No. 4-seeded Meridian (9-8-0) by a score of 9-8 at Boise’s Cassia Park.
Borah’s Conor Greely scored four goals for Borah while Spencer Pierce added three goals and goalie Joshua Nett made 12 saves.
The Warriors-Falcons game was the rubber match of a well-played three-game series. Vallivue won 9-4 on the Hailey football field May 3 and the Warriors captured the season opener March 19 by a 6-5 score, also in Mountain Home.
But the Warriors left no doubt with a dominant performance in Mountain Home Wednesday evening for their third straight win after that uncharacteristic 9-4 home loss.
Most of the game was played in the Warriors offensive end where the Warriors were patient with good ball movement leading to 41 shots.
Defensively, brothers Zach and Travis Swanson, Hans Heaphy and Hayes Gilman kept the Falcons on the outside forcing a multitude of turnovers, followed by successful clears leading to fast break opportunities.
One play for the highlight reel came in the third quarter when Anders Fortuin (7 goals season) of the Warriors was pushing up the left side near the midfield stripe.
The outlet pass was low and behind him, yet at a dead run he managed to reach back and catch the ball one-handed at ground level. Fortuin brought it up and made a perfect pass to Matt Galgano who buried it from in front of the goal.
Wood River fans went wild.
Senior leaders Bailey and Conrad played tenacious defense particularly on the rides in transition. Bailey out-ran the clear, and Conrad stopped it dead in its tracks with big hits all game long.
Hayden Thayer (16 goals, 3 assists season), Fortuin, Bailey and Conrad dominated the ground ball game. Their teammate Keegan Heneghan showed incredible speed transitioning with a long pole.
Bailey started the Warriors scoring and the Falcons tied it 1-1. Evan Telford (16 goals, 3 assists season) scored next with an assist from Bailey, then Vallivue scored to knot it 2-2 after the first quarter.
Bailey gave Wood River the lead, but the Falcons bounced back tying it 3-3. Galgano (10 goals, 6 assists season) and Bailey each scored putting the Warriors up 5-3 at the half.
Fortuin and Galgano each scored giving the Warriors a four-goal cushion in the third quarter. The Falcons stormed back with two quick goals to start the fourth with the Warriors’ lead narrowed to 7-5.
But great Wood River defense in the fourth quarter and goals by Bailey and Galgano secured the win for the Warriors 9-5. Wood River goalie Miles Jones (95 saves on 191 shots season) finished with four saves on 21 shots.
For the Falcons, Tyler Sanchez tallied three goals, Zade Sutton and Michael Lycan notched a goal and assist apiece, and Henry Miller added three assists. Vallivue goalie Davis Peterson made 11 saves on the 41 Warriors shots.
Borah and Wood River will play for the Division 2 tournament championship Wednesday, May 28 at 6 p.m. at Eagle High School. And the winner of the May 28 title game will host the official State Division 2 championship against the northern Idaho winners Saturday, May 31 at 1 p.m.
Borah won its final two season games 7-6 and 7-6 over Meridian and Vallivue and earned the league’s top seed, despite having the same 10-2-0 league record as Wood River.
Another date as the league lacrosse season wraps up is the Idaho Lacrosse High School Div. 2 All-Star boys’ game Saturday, June 7 at 1 p.m. at Boise State University’s new Lincoln Field, in downtown Boise. All individual player and league awards for the season will be given at that All-Star event.