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Boys lacrosse: Canby sticking to playoff hopes under new coach Patrick Verdun

The Cougars crush Marist 14-1 in a nonleague clash as they prepare for tough competition in the Three Rivers League.


by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Patrick Verdun (right), a Forest Grove product who recently graduated from Southern Oregon University, yells instructions from the sideline during the Canby boys lacrosse team's nonleague game against Eugene-Marist at home April 4. The Cougars cruised in a 14-1 rout.Mitch Iafrati sliced in front of the net late in the third period, tricked Eugene-Marist goalkeeper Dante Castille and fired a crafty around-the-head, over-the-shoulder shot that enlivened the crowd at Cougar Stadium.

The goal was waived off due to a crease violation, but the Canby boys lacrosse team had already done plenty of damage.

With an array of offensive fireworks and a lockdown effort on defense, the Cougars crushed the Spartans 14-1 in a nonconference clash at home April 4.

The victory was relatively easy but nonetheless important for Canby (3-2), which was coming off a disappointing double-overtime loss to a Beaverton program that reached the state semifinals last season.

“We know we can come out quicker and faster,” returning all-league senior Trey Bellmore said. “We’re going need to once we get into league.”

New man in charge

Under first-year coach Patrick Verdun, Bellmore and the No. 18 Cougars are hoping to qualify for the playoffs out of a stacked Three Rivers League that currently features three of the state’s top eight teams in West Linn, Lakeridge and Clackamas.

Last year, they missed the playoffs despite finishing at No. 18 in the state rankings.

“We always have stiff competition, but we have more depth this year than the last two years,” said Verdun, who replaced Justin Blackmore at the helm of the program. “I think we have a chance. And we’re running some different offensive sets, so that always helps.”

Verdun, a Forest Grove product, filled the boys lacrosse coaching vacancy at Canby after earning a master’s degree in teaching at Southern Oregon University.

Verdun was a standout athlete at SOU, where he captained the men’s lacrosse team in 2012. He received honorable mention in the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League as a midfielder that year, when he tallied 34 goals and seven assists.

Verdun, who finished his collegiate career with 73 goals and 17 assists in 49 games, moved back to the greater Portland area to be closer to the lacrosse hotbed.

“I am honestly very impressed with the skill level out here,” he said. “The players always have the best attitude at practice and want to get better and push themselves everyday. I love being here.”

Bellmore, who has had three different coaches in his lacrosse career with the Cougars, said he feels confident that the team will maximize its potential under Verdun despite the graduation of all-league seniors Konnen Bell and Cody Sibel.

“He’s a great guy,” Bellmore said. “It takes a while to get used to (a new system), but he knows what he’s doing. He’s got us on the same page, and he’s going to get us where we need to be.”

Sloppy but superior

Canby didn’t turn in an error-free performance, but it had more than enough talent and skill to overpower Marist in a lopsided affair in which it notched the first 12 goals.

Jordan Kahut scored five goals, Bellmore added three goals and three assists and Justin Eggimann chipped in two goals.

Late in the first period, Bellmore scooped up the rebound from his own miss and slithered through traffic to give the Cougars a 3-0 edge. He then backed his way towards the net early in the second quarter before finding Kahut, who extended their lead to 5-0.

Eggimann scored with 3:34 remaining in the second period, rocketing a shot past Castille while being knocked to the turf. About a minute later, Kahut put away another goal on a 15-yard laser.

But Verdun saw ample room for improvement in his team’s eight-goal first half.

“The scoreboard didn’t necessarily show it, but we came out slow,” he said. “In the second half, we stepped it up and did the little things right.”

Canby’s defense made the evening relatively uneventful for goalkeeper Daniel Leinbach. Marist’s only goal came on a close-range shot by senior Clark Morton late in the third period.

It was the Cougars’ best statistical outing on the defensive end since a 14-1 road win over Oregon City in 2012.

League gauntlet looming

Whether Canby can build on the success it had against the Spartans remains to be seen. It will face Hood River on the road at 7 p.m. April 9 before embarking on a brutal four-game stretch that includes three clashes with top-10 programs.

The crucial segment of the season will test the Cougars’ dedication and maturity.

“It’s about getting the younger kids to buy in, going hard in practice and the seniors leading and making sure we’re setting a good example,” Bellmore said. “Come playoff time, we hope to be making a run and be at our peak.”

***

AT A GLANCE

Canby 14, Marist 1

April 4 at Cougar Stadium

Goals — Canby: Jordan Kahut 5, Trey Bellmore 3, Justin Eggimann 2, Nate McDonald, Mitch Iafrati, Colton Wood, Cole Saltmarsh. Marist: Clark Morton.

Assists — Canby: Trey Bellmore 3, Mitch Iafrati, Jordan Kahut, Chase Purtzer, Justin Eggimann, Cole Saltmarsh.

First period

C — Jordan Kahut (Mitch Iafrati), 9:32

C — Colton Wood (Kahut), 6:54

C — Trey Bellmore, 3:32

C — Nate McDonald (Chase Purtzer), :46.9

Second period

C — Kahut (Bellmore), 10:12

C — Eggimann (Bellmore), 3:34

C — Kahut (Cole Saltmarsh), 2:26

C — Kahut, :55.1

Third period

C — Kahut, 11:34

C — Bellmore, 6:39

C — Bellmore (Justin Eggimann), 3:36

C — Eggimann (Bellmore), 2:19

M — Clark Morton, :13

Fourth period

C — Saltmarsh, 8:11

C — Iafrati, 2:40




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