A trio of multi-goal days lifted West Ranch Wildcats boys’ lacrosse to victory in its rainy Foothill League home opener matchup with the Valencia Vikings.
The Wildcats won the game 16-2 and were led by senior Ethan Mower with five goals and two assists. Tyler Jones and Ryan Donell also shined, adding four goals apiece for West Ranch (3-0).
Jones registered a hat trick in the first quarter as the Wildcats jumped to an instant 6-1 lead.
Max Pearson was also key in the Wildcat scoring frenzy. Pearson led quick counters, running through the midfield, and was the main facilitator for West Ranch. Pearson finished with one goal and five assists.
Valencia’s Max Stroh tossed a smooth pass to teammate Ryan Knight, who netted a score to cut the deficit to five goals, but that goal ended up being the last of the day for the Vikings (1-2).
Stroh led Valencia with a goal and assist.
The Wildcats kept their foot on the pedal throughout the contest. West Ranch shut out the Vikings for the rest of the game while still working up its lead to coast to victory. The Cats’ intensity and energy has been standing out to first-year head coach Chris Taylor.
“The boys played with great energy,” Taylor said. “We’ve had some really good practices and we seem focused.”
Valencia goalie Daniel Acosta allowed a season-high 16 goals but made 14 saves, playing on alert for the majority of the game as West Ranch controlled possession. Vikings senior Tyler Valdespino also shined for Valencia, winning 12 of his 21 faceoffs. The Vikings have talent at several key positions, giving head coach Julian Lewis a little peace of mind.
“Our specialty positions are a really strong point for us,” Lewis said. “Our goalie and our face-off is something that we take a lot of pride in and they’re definitely some of our better positions. I think overall we did some good things today. Obviously, the bad kind of outweighed the good today with the scoreboard. So, we just have to get back to the grind.”
The coach is still optimistic about the rest of the season. Lewis has seen great senior leadership around the team and hopes the Valenca captains leave their mark on the program as well as the future varsity Vikings.
“They are starting to really come into their own as leaders,” Lewis said. “They’ve already established themselves as players, but the fact that they’re leading and they’re even coaching our JV kids, that’s what really what our program needs to really get out of that hole.”
Taylor has also seen his leaders shine. The coach believes that the group’s mentoring and guidance has been a key part of the team’s early success this season.
“Our senior leadership is what every coach dreams of,” Taylor said. “We are showing great chemistry, and the boys are both talented and hard-working.”
West Ranch will be off for a week before looking to keep Taylor undefeated as lacrosse head coach. The Cats head to Saugus on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Valencia will look to get back on track at home on Friday at 7 p.m. when the team hosts Royal.
“I’m really optimistic for the rest of the year,” Lewis said. “I think we have a really good chance to fix the things that we can fix. And I think if we do fix them, we have a really good shot at putting up a fight and shaking up this league.”