SEATTLE — In April, the Klahowya boys lacrosse team was handed its second-worst loss of the season, falling 18-3 to Seattle Prep.
So while Saturday’s season-ending loss to Prep in the second round of the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association Division II playoffs still stung the Eagles, they had to feel good about the effort, falling just 11-7 at Magnuson Park.
“Our guys played really well,” Klahowya coach Rob Hawley said. “The nice thing was they weren’t just trying to stay close, make a good show. They really wanted to win.”
The Eagles (8-4) fell to Seattle Prep (12-0) despite leading 6-2 at the half. Hawley said the team made some adjustments to slow Prep’s ball movement that paid off.
“They definitely made a difference,” Hawley said. “Even when they came back in the third quarter, most of it was outside shots.”
Early on it looked like Prep might run to a similar outcome.
“They started the game very quickly,” he said of SP. “They scored a couple goals right off the bat. They kind of expected us to go away.”
After prep scored twice to open the game, Hawley said the Eagles stormed back, rallying for six straight goals. Coupled with Chad Reeder’s first-half goal keeping, the Eagles were poised to make a run at a big upset, as the team has never advanced to the state quarterfinals.
“His first half was really remarkable,” Hawley said of Reeder, who finished with a game-high 20 saves. “He’d probably admit his second half was kind of average.”
While the Eagles’ defense stymied Prep’s ball movement, Prep’s outside shots began falling.
“Lacrosse goes in runs,” Hawley said. “They just came out with much better focus in the third quarter.”
Prep’s defense also stepped up, keeping the Eagles to just one second-half goal.
Still, while the Eagles would have preferred to advance, Hawley was proud of his team’s turnaround from the first bout with Seattle Prep.
“It took a lot of work,” he said. “They were tired. I’m happy. I wish we could have completed the job, but by the same token, I recognize that improvement.”
Senior Karl Neumann led the team with three goals and an assist. Danny Zimny scored twice and Cody Hertenstein dished out a pair of assists. James West had a goal and Alex Schell scored once and recorded an assist.
With so many key seniors, Hawley said their contributions to the program won’t be soon forgotten.
“It’ll go beyond (the field),” Hawley said. “It’s more than just the goals they scored or the defense they played. This is a bunch of guys that put four solid years in the program. They won a lot of games.”
He also estimates the group scored 80 percent of the Eagles’ goals across that period.
“They were the ones that kind of pushed through,” he said. “There’s some leadership there that’s clearly going away.”
Along with Neumann, the Eagles will also lose Schell and Joel Schultz from the midfield. Attacker Tyler Flowers also graduates as do defenders Devyn and Sean Byrnes and Yancy Lever.
“That group always really, really loved lacrosse,” Hawley said. “They enjoyed their teammates and enjoyed the game. They did that whether they won or lost. And the winning took care of itself.”
But with many young player returning, including Reeder in goal and players like West and Zimny, Hawley said even with the losses the Eagles will be ready to pick up where this season left off.
“By the same token, we’ve got a lot coming back,” he said. “We’re not going back to square one.”