By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Hart boys’ (6-3, 1-2) lacrosse got its first league win after beating the Valencia Vikings (2-5, 0-3) 11-5.
The Indians were led by senior Cole May who gave the Vikings’ defense fits with five goals.
May went in for the kill quickly as his first two goals helped Hart build a 3-0 lead just three minutes into the game.
Valencia was able to manage one goal in the opening quarter on a great move by Nathan Lord.
Lord led the Vikings with three goals.
“The biggest thing was we wanted to come out as fast as possible,” said Hart head coach Tony Bendfeldt. “We were able play hard defense and have three strong fast break sprints from the get go.”
Valencia would make it a two-score game in the second with a goal from a charging Nicholas Acosta, who was too quick for the Indians.
Hart would respond immediately and registered another four-goal quarter in the second, giving themselves some great breathing room going into the halftime break.
“It was a great night,” said May. “Our passing was up, we had a lot of good rotations, the ball movement was good.”
The Indians’ defense was staggering, plugging up all of Valencia’s passing lanes and stealing/stripping dozens of balls. Hart was quick to counter on the turnovers and the frontman May was ready to make Valencia pay.
Valencia started to rally in the third and blanked the Indians in the quarter, a common problem Hart is working on.
The two-man game of Max Stroph and Nicolas Liva scored only one but gave the Indians trouble. Lord would net the other two of the quarter, cutting the lead to three goals.
“We’re very good at gaining momentum in the first half,” said Bendfeldt. “But then it’s dragging in the second half where we struggle a lot.”
Hart put the quarter behind them and opened up quickly again. Strikes from Jack Loftus and May brought the lead back up to five goals with less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
Loftus had two goals on the night.
May would get his fifth goal shortly after and Valencia could not respond.
“We knew we were just having a slump we had to get through,” said Hart defender Cole Spivey. ”We can trust our offense and I got some ground balls to get it started. For the most part, the offense can run itself, I trust them to win our games.”
The Vikings have a relatively young team and a lot of new players. Head coach Julian Lewis feels good after the loss moving forward with his young squad.
“We finally for the first time this year played like an actual team,” said Lewis. “They played together. They realized they aren’t going to win by themselves.”
Valencia has some solid players in juniors Lord, Liva and Stroph, as well as a crafty goalie in sophomore Daniel Acosta.
Hart is looking solid and has won six of its last seven games, earning a good chance of a playoffs berth for the first time in school history.
The Indians will be back home Saturday to host San Marina at 2 p.m. while Valencia travels to Dos Pueblos Friday for a 5 p.m. non-league matchup.