Sam Bernstein staff writer
Sam Bernstein staff writer
Boys varsity lacrosse (4-6) beat the Downey Vikings (4-7) by a score of 11-5 on Friday, April 13. It was the team’s first win in April and their second win over the Vikings this season. With the win, the team’s overall record improves to 4-6 and their league record improves to 2-3.
The Normans started hot, scoring within the first eight seconds of the game off of the opening faceoff. That goal, scored by senior midfielder Jason Harward, was one of his four on the game.
“On the faceoffs, they were aggressive like they were throughout all aspects of the game, but in transition you can’t be as aggressive because you’ve got to be on your heels. I took advantage of that for my goals,” Harward said.
After the first goal, the game went back and forth between the two sides. After every goal the Normans scored, the Vikings retaliated. Senior midfielder Benji Liker was able to manage this pressure and score two goals early in the game. Liker, a captain, believed that there was more to this win than just a productive attack line.
“We played well as a unit,” Liker said. “We got lots of ground balls, which has been a weak point all season. Ground balls win ball games and that was our key to winning.”
The Vikings play aggressively and the team was not afraid to get violent with the Normans. The Normans were able to keep up with Downey’s style and use it to their advantage.
“The way I handled their aggressiveness was very simple,” junior defender Jibran Kabani said. “As the game went on I realized that their stick skills were lackluster and therefore I just took advantage of that, lodged my stick in and we came out with the win.”
There were multiple varsity debuts on Friday afternoon for the Normans. Freshman defensive midfielder Nathan Naghi and sophomore attackman Reuben Haiimpoor were both able to contribute, with Naghi scoring a goal to add to the Normans’ lead in the third and Haiimpoor assisting a goal in the fourth. Haiimpoor talked about handling the pressure and pace of the varsity game.
“I felt good,” Haiimpoor said. “At first I felt a little pressure, but it worked out. I just had to be a bit more energetic but that comes with playing hard. It just felt like a regular game to me.”
One of the team’s main strengths throughout the game was their rotations. Head coach Kyle Kobe was able to keep the team fresh throughout the game and his timely play calling resulted in multiple goals for the Normans. Kobe believes that his play calling was not the only factor in the win for the Normans
“We attribute the win to doing some of the skills that we’ve been lacking earlier in the season,” Kobe said. “We had a better day picking up ground balls, we had a better day putting our shots on the ground. Our goalie is having an exceptional season and he’s been anchoring our defense.”
That goalie, junior Henry Grote, did something that is normally frowned upon at the varsity lacrosse level; he moved out of the crease. He moved the ball all the way past the halfmark and even attempted a shot. Grote, who declined to comment, did that against Santa Monica two nights prior, but before that he had never done this for the Normans before.
“[Grote] did this a couple nights ago when we played Santa Monica. After the game, as a joke, I drew on the whiteboard in the locker room a new play, which was to give the ball to Henry and for everyone else just get out of the way. That was a joke, but I think he took that a little too seriously,” Kobe said with a chuckle.
The Normans next game is home on April 16 against the Calabasas Coyotes (4-8, 0-6). Faceoff is at 6 p.m.