Young Tualatin lacrosse team makes second round of Cascade Cup

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Tualatin sophomore Kyle Farnstrom scored one of the Timberwolves four goals in their playoff loss to Ridgeview. Adam Littman/Tualatin Life
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Tualatin boys lacrosse Head Coach Jon Stevens was disappointed to see his first year in charge of the program end, but he’s already excited about the immediate future of his team. 

“We had hopes of getting to the Cascade Cup Championship,” Stevens said. “But considering where we were coming from with a team of less than 20 kids, and was at least half freshmen and sophomores, I’m proud of their effort. We were running a lot of guys a lot of minutes and they didn’t give up. That’s all I can ask for. We have a lot of room to improve.”

The Timberwolves won just two games a year ago. They finished this season 10-10 and earned the No. 3 seed in the Cascade Cup. The top 24 teams in the state make the Championship Bracket of the playoffs, while the next 16 make the Cascade Cup. 

Tualatin won its opening playoff game, 9-3, against Aloha-Southridge. It lost in the next round, 6-4, to Ridgeview. Tualatin’s youth made their presence known in their first playoff appearance. In the Ridgeview loss, Tualatin’s goals all came from players who should return next season. Junior Caden Knips scored two goals and sophomores Riley Bunney and Kyle Farnstrom each scored a goal apiece.  

The Timberwolves had four seniors this past season, and a lot of younger players saw regular playing time, so Stevens anticipates the program will be able to build off this year. 

“We have plans in two or three years to get this program into the state playoffs and challenge for quarterfinals and final fours down the road,” he said. “It was on our seniors to set the bar going forward.”

Stevens praised his seniors – Tony Grau, Kevin Jiricek, Henry Findtner, and Sawyer Johnson – for doing just that this season.  One hard part of that, Stevens said, is the group is laying a foundation for something that will be built after they are gone. That not only included leading out on the field but showing up to practice on time and working with the younger players instead of just making them run errands, like setting up and taking down the goals. 

“They had to set the tone for the future,” Stevens said. “They did that. I think they can be proud of their legacy.”

He shouted out Knips and sophomore Trent McMillin as two of the team’s key players this year, and as two big pieces for the future of Tualatin lacrosse. Stevens also said the future is bright for Luke Patzke.

“He is a freshman who picked up a lacrosse stick one week before the season started,” Stevens said. “He decided to play lacrosse instead of baseball and he got honorable mention all-conference as a freshman.  He’s a hard worker. He’s going to turn into a good player.”

Because the program didn’t have enough players, there was no JV team this season. 

“We have a lot of kids that we should’ve been able to put in JV to season them, but we had to throw them into the deep end,” Stevens said. “No one backed down. The kids kept fighting.”

Stevens said that along with the players, he got a ton of help from his coaching staff, the board of the lacrosse club, and parent volunteers to try and make his first year as coach as easy as possible. 

“I learned a lot in my first year, especially with some mistakes that I made,” he said. “I feel like I failed them in some regard, so I’m going to go home and get better. We’re going to spend all summer trying to get better. We’ve got a great group of freshmen coming in. I’ve got a great coaching staff which is coming back. All in all, for a first year, I’m happy.”

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