With a dramatic loss to Oaks Christian in the rearview mirror, West Ranch boys lacrosse knew that it had to bounce back quickly.
And what better way to bounce back than with a rivalry game?
The Wildcats beat Valencia 9-4 at Valencia on Tuesday, taking a step towards early-season excellence.
“It was good to get a win against them,” said Wildcats coach Mike Borsos. “It’s always good to get a win against your rival. We just didn’t come and play against Oaks Christian and we came to play tonight.”
The Cats piled on four goals in the first half – all of which were scored by either Vince Buyco or Zach Van Bennekum.
In the third quarter, Evan Dean dented the scoreboard for the Vikings at the 11:41 mark.
Cody McGraw and Zayne Martinez netted goals of their own in the third frame, but West Ranch countered with two goals from Kristian Potts and Derek Moskal to keep a comfortable 6-3 lead.
“We just settled down,” said Vikes coach Mark Bell. “We relaxed and said ‘Okay, let’s start playing our game instead of playing a game that’s not Valencia lacrosse.’
“We just decided to just step up and play. And unfortunately, it was too late in the game.”
Valencia’s Cody McGraw potted his second goal of the night at the 4:20 mark, but West Ranch’s Adam Doyle tacked on two goals and Jon Matkin one to silence the Vikings.
Borsos was thrilled with the performance of his non-seniors, which included Van Bennekum (a sophomore), Vince Buyco (junior) and goalie Jonathan Benfeldt (junior).
“It means we’re going to do good this year and we’re going to do even better in the upcoming years,” said Van Bennekum of the strength of the underclassmen corps.
Valencia will have another chance to get a win against West Ranch on April 28 – the team’s penultimate game of the regular season.
“They kind of know they have a chip on their shoulder because we’ve never beaten them,” Bell said of the rivalry with the Wildcats. “It’s been a very one-sided match between both teams, so they know that and we reiterated it for the past three years, so I think they were ready. I just think that we fell short.”