Collin Matthias missed several games this season because of his commitments to Future Farmers of America, but hes back when the Canby boys lacrosse team seemingly needs him most.
This past week the senior goalkeeper helped the Cougars advance to the semifinals of the Cascade Cup, a state postseason tournament for teams that did not earns spots in the championship bracket.
In the first round, fourth-seeded Canby overpowered 13th-seeded Hermiston 14-0 at home May 28. Three days later, the Cougars surged past fifth-seeded Hood River in a 17-7 triumph to extend their season.
Matthias and his teammates were scheduled to face top-seeded Portland-Wilson on the road at 8 p.m. June 3. The winner will advance to face either No. 2 Sisters or No. 3 Oregon City in the tournament final June 7.
I was out for four or five games on and off, but the last three weeks Ive been back, Matthias said. Were really hoping to get this thing on the road and win it all.
Its been a whirlwind spring for Matthias, who has played an active role in FFA. Recently selected as a state officer, he will spend the 2014-15 school year traveling throughout Oregon as an ambassador for the organization. He will then study agribusiness at Oregon State, where he hopes to continue his lacrosse career.
Matthias had plenty to do with Canbys rout of Hermiston in the first round of the postseason. He saved several shots on goal, communicated with his fellow defenders and sparked the teams transition offense with pinpoint passing.
Even with the outcome all but sealed in the closing minutes, Matthias wasnt coasting.
I was worried for a couple seconds at the last part, he said. They came in close. I was like, Can I get a shutout? Can I get a shutout?
After securing the programs first shutout victory of the season, Matthias was mobbed by elated teammates.
Of course, many of those teammates were instrumental to the victory as well. Senior standout Trey Bellmore scored a team-high four goals and added two assists, while Justin Eggimann and Alek Purtzer each chipped in two goals. Josh Thomas, Daniel Leinbach, Nate McDonald and Jordan Kahut also found the back of the net.
Leinbach served as the Cougars goalkeeper for the games Matthias missed.
Weve had Daniel do a phenomenal job, Matthias said.
Matthias credited his teammates across the field for making the shutout possible. Most of Hermistons shot attempts came from 15 yards or more away from the goal.
A lot of it was the defense, he said. We have a great defensive line, theyre really experienced and we keep them talking. And we have good attack players and great middies.