Coppell Boys Lacrosse traveled all the way to McKinney for their opening game of the 2019 season, and their fans that weathered the cold and windy conditions were not disappointed with the outcome, as Coppell fought through some early-season rustiness to eventually pull away from McKinney and post an 11-3 win.
On a night when Coppell committed an uncharacteristically high 24 team turnovers, many of those coming from their most experienced and sure-handed players, it turned out to be a combination of face off dominance, smothering defense, and some impressive stick work on offense, that allowed the Cowboys to come away with the win.
Most team sports, such as football, basketball and soccer, involve a change of possession after a score, but one of the more intriguing and sometimes frustrating (if you are on the wrong end of the stick) elements of lacrosse is that an effective face-off middie can essentially ensure that one team comes away with possession for large spans of the game, even after scoring several goals, which can be deflating to an opponent. That is exactly what Senior FOGO specialist Reece Reynolds did Tuesday night, winning 12 of his 13 face offs, grabbing 6 ground balls with no turnovers, and giving Coppell not only a dozen extra offensive possessions, but preventing McKinney from ever getting any offensive momentum going.
The Cowboys came out a bit tentative, giving up an unassisted goal to McKinney and making a few off-target passes on their own offensive end. Senior Ethan Bivens ended the dry spell with a running shot and goal about midway through the 1stquarter. From there, the Coppell offense became much more active and involved, running off a string of six straight assisted goals, for a 7-1 halftime lead, with a couple of highlight reel-worthy connections. The scoring for the night was well-distributed across several players, with eight Cowboys posting at least one point, and five scoring multiple points.
Sophomore Gavin Osteen led in overall points with 3 assists and 2 goals, while Junior Peyton Barron had a hat trick with 3 goals and 1 assist. Senior Walker Cain had 2 goals and an assist and Junior Leo Swaldi added 2 goals, while Junior Max LaMendola contributed a goal and an assist. One of the prettier plays of the night came when Sophomore Tyler Wendel dodged down the alley to draw the defense, then found Osteen wide open in front of the net for a hands-free shot and score.
On defense, the Cowboys were able to shut down the entire McKinney offense, aside from Junior Cameron Johnson (UMass commit), who had three unassisted goals on the night. Once Coppell adjusted to limit his touches and space, it became a very frustrating night for McKinney, who launched a total of 24 shots in the game, but only scored 3 times. Sophomore defenders Remington Reynolds (4 GBs, 2 forced turnovers) and Colton Delk (3 GBs) locked down the McKinney attackmen, and LSM Reid Robbins grabbed 4 GBs with 1 forced turnover, putting in strong work from the wing on face offs. Junior goalie Hayden MacArthur had his third double-digit save effort in the last four games (counting the preseason), making 11 saves and posting a 79% save percentage for the game. Senior midfielder Brandon Point grabbed 2 ground balls and had an assist.
Coppell held McKinney scoreless in the 4thquarter and added 2 more goals to come away with the 11-3 win on the road. The Cowboys now go to work preparing for their next game, which will be their home opening game next Tuesday, 2/19 at 7:30 PM at Lesley Field in Coppell against the Allen Eagles. Please come out and cheer on both the JV and the Varsity as they look to make it two wins in a row.
Thanks to Mark Barron, Anne Rogers, and Kurt Liese for the game photos of both Varsity and JV.