By Tom Bequette, Staff Writer
// The men’s lacrosse team opened up their season with a thorough drubbing of Las Lomas 14-3 on Friday night, which the two teams played in honor of former Acalanes lacrosse player Collin Jeffries.
Before the game, both teams took a moment to pay their respects and retire the jersey of Collin Jeffries, a 2018 Acalanes graduate who sadly took his own life. The teams partnered with mental health foundations Be Well California and A Brighter Day, to alert the crowd to the dangers and the prominence of depression and anxiety, as well as to educate them on the warning signs and the possible treatments for depression.
The lacrosse team regards Colin as not just a teammate, but as a mentor.
“Knowing Collin most of my life changed my outlook completely on the game itself. He took me under his wing and helped make lacrosse very special to me,” senior Avery Howell said.
After the ceremony, the players took the field and began their 2020 lacrosse season, which opened with a bang for the Dons, as senior Avery Howell opened the scoring with a phenomenal wrap-around goal to put the Dons up, just 28 seconds into the game.
The Dons fast-pace of play helped them control the ball for much of the first quarter, creating numerous opportunities around the goal and with 7:04 left to go in the quarter junior Owen Lee was able to cash in one of those opportunities sniping a shot into the back of the goal to give the Dons the 2-0 advantage.
The Dons dominated ball possession and the pace of play until there were about three minutes left in the first quarter when Las Lomas was able to break away from the Dons defense, scoring two fast-break goals, the last one coming with only eight seconds left in the quarter to keep the Knights down only 3-2 and to give them the momentum going into the break.
If the Knights comeback fazed the Dons, they didn’t show it as they immediately went on the attack to begin the second quarter, going on a breakaway that due to some crafty ball movement left sophomore Jake Henderson with an easy open-goal score at the 10:38 mark in the second.
As the game went on, the more and more physical things got as the players knocked each other to the turf like bowling pins with increasing regularity. The chippiness eventually culminated in a small shoving match between a few players on each side that the referees had to halt play to end with 6:00 left in the second quarter.
When the game resumed, it was all Dons as Howell was able to smash his way through the Knight’s defense, putting away two goals before the half and extending the Dons lead to 6-2.
Nothing changed during the half as the Dons went right back to controlling the game as junior Ario Akusa wasted no time, collecting a deflection off the Knights goalkeeper and slicing it directly into the back of the net only a minute and a half into the 2nd half. A beautiful spin move by Howell and an even better finish only a minute later put the Dons up 8-2 and blowing the game wide open.
For the rest of the third quarter, Las Lomas failed to find an effective counter to the Dons offensive attack, as Lee gave the Dons two more goals, including one where he juked the goalkeeper out by triple-pump faking and then tossed the ball into the corner of the net.
At the start of the fourth, the Dons were up 12-4, and the game was in hand. The chippiness between the two teams continued until they eventually broke into yet another fight where the players had to be pulled off of each other by the refs, stopping the game for another ten minutes.
Both teams then proceeded to put in their substitutes for the rest of the game.
“We were able to execute in many parts of the field, but we definitely have a lot more to work on. We will face bigger challenges later in the season, but I believe that we have yet to reach even half of our full potential,” Howell said.
Next up for the Dons is a date on Tuesday with the Petaluma Trojans as they will try and carry their new-found momentum into the rest of the season.