Boys, girls lacrosse teams looking to youth for success

Tualatin’s Addison Deibele leads the team with 20 points so far this year. Adam Littman/Tualatin Life
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The Tualatin boys and girls lacrosse teams are both in the midst of youth movements.  

Both the boys and girls have found themselves working in newer, younger players this year partly due to graduation and partly due to injuries to more established players. 

The Timberwolves on both sides have had varying success through the first half or so of their seasons. 

Here’s a look at how the boys and girls are doing heading into the homestretch before the playoffs:

Boys Team

Just four of the players for Tualatin’s boys lacrosse team are seniors. Yet, the Timberwolves sat at 5-5 through their first 10 games as of our press deadline. That already surpasses last season’s win total, when Tualatin won two games. 

“They’re working really hard,” said Tualatin Jon Stevens, who is in his first year leading the program. 

“We’ve got great senior leaders and some other captains. What we’re finding a lot of fun is the camaraderie is building. That’s the secret ingredient. When we get that, then you can accomplish some great things.”

Stevens is a former assistant coach at West Linn for more than a decade and used to own Big Foot Lacrosse, a lacrosse store in Tualatin that was purchased and turned into Lacrosse Northwest. He said that defense has been the strongpoint for his team so far this year, led by goalie Nick Buelna and Kevin Jiricek. 

 On offense, Trent McMillin and Caden Knips are the two highest goal scorers for Tualatin. McMillin is responsible for nearly half of Tualatin’s goals this year with 23. The Timberwolves have 54 as a team. Knips is next with nine goals. Knips also leads the team with four assists; no other player has more than one.

“Those are the guys we’re really relying on offensively,” Stevens said. 

Stevens also said the team has received contributions from freshmen Luke Patzke, Cash Forcier, and Nick Clary. 

“We’re relying on young guys that should be playing JV, but we don’t have a JV team and everyone has been forced to step up and contribute,” he said. “They’re doing it.”

Girls Team

Tualatin girls lacrosse Head Coach Lois Ray said her team is also following the lead of some of the more experienced players. 

“We’ve had a couple of players who worked really hard this summer and have really pushed their teammates,” she said. “It has been awesome to see.”

One such player is junior Rose Frezza, who is tied with a team-high 13 goals as of our press deadline. 

“She has led our draw team and is setting her attackers up and is looking to score herself,” Ray said. “On the defensive end, she’s causing turnovers.”

Frezza is second on the team with 19 points, trailing only junior Addison Deibele, who has 13 goals and seven assists for 20 points overall. Senior Jillian Mangum has 11 goals. 

Ray said she has appreciated the high level of energy her team’s defense has shown so far this year. She also has been happy to see how involved the whole team has been on the offensive end. Four players have at least three assists on the season.

“Our team is really good at assisting each other and looking to set each other up for success and getting goals,” she said.

Ray said senior Grace Love and Mangum have done a great job in helping the team transition from defense to offense. 

Freshman Mahaela Horsford has made an immediate impact on defense. 

“She does really well at taking the coaching and applying it right away and locking in on the other team’s top attackers,” Ray said. 

Another player bringing the energy this year has been freshman Ava Wilson, who primarily comes off the bench for Tualatin.

“Hers scrappiness and drive to goal has been awesome to see,” Ray said. “In her moments, she goes 100 percent.”

Like the boys team, the girls team has shown great camaraderie this year. After each game, Ray collects nominations for the player who best excelled in their particular role that game. She then has the team vote on the winner, and that player gets to take home the Wolfie trophy until the next game. 

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