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Battle of Big Offenses Ends in Viking Victory

Samuel Anderson
Pleasant Grove’s Viking Stadium is one the best lacrosse venues in Utah with scores of fans, games under the lights, concessions, a lighted scoreboard, and an in-game announcer, and it’s never more raucous than on senior night when the Vikings take on their cross-town rivals the Timpanogos Timberwolves.  The Pleasant Grove seniors didn’t go home disappointed after a game that showcased the offensive prowess of the two Utah County contenders, winning 18-15.
The game started off quickly with both offenses executing at a high level.  Pleasant Grove threatened to put the game out of reach with a three-goal run in the first two minutes of play: Senior Sam Anderson scooped a loose ball rolling across the crease and dumped it in, sophomore Chad Renslow scored on a face-off fast-break, and senior Jacob Windley took the following face-off all the way to the house.  But lacrosse is a game of runs, and the T-Wolves put together a three-goal stretch of their own that included top-shelf high heat from senior Audie Ventura, a Jonathan Rees transition goal, and senior Winston Farley backing the defense down on the wing for the score.  The Vikings answered with an alley dodge that hit far pipe, and, despite a nice doorstep save from Timpanogos keeper Ryan Wilkey, the Vikings found the back of the net again when Anderson got topside and took advantage of a clear look at the 6×6.  The T-Wolves responded quickly, though, taking the next two face-offs for goals off of crazy unsettled situations with players from both teams lying face down on the turf.  A PG penalty effectively ended the first quarter, tied 5-5.
It’s hard to believe, but the action actually picked up even more in the second quarter.  Timpanogos moved it around the horn quickly on a man-up play, giving Farley an open look at the cage for the tally.  Farley then took the next face-off straight down the middle for his second goal in just five seconds of play.  But the Vikings apparently called on the power of Thor and the might of Mjolnir, because they did not allow another goal in the quarter and ripped off a seven-goal run of their own that saw five different Vikings players score, giving Pleasant Grove a comfortable halftime lead of 12-7.
“We came out hard and fast like we wanted,” commented Pleasant Grove Assistant Coach Jacob Houghton, “we knew it wouldn’t be an easy game.”
Pleasant Grove - TimpanogosPleasant Grove continued to roll to start the third, with senior Chad Madsen scoring back-to-back by finding space across the middle of the crease and dodging from behind the cage.  Windley then took another face-off to the house, inflating the Vikings’ lead to eight, 15-7.  The teams then traded goals when the T-wolves’ Farley found the back of the net on a fast break and Viking senior Brandon Graf sent a worm-burner past the keeper.  Two big Viking penalties gave the T-wolves a chance to close out the quarter well, and they took advantage with Farley catching and ripping from the wing and ending the quarter down 16-9.
In the fourth with a big lead, the Vikings appeared to shut things down and put on the cruise control, but they may have become a little too comfortable.  Timpanogos scored a man-up goal to get rolling and then grabbed a transition goal when no slide came on the fast break.  Pleasant Grove then woke up and responded with a couple goals of their own, but the momentum was swinging the T-Wolves’ way.  Timpanogos went on a mad scramble for about two minutes of play that resulted in four Timberwolf goals, including goals from Rees, Ventura, and Farley and bringing the T-Wolves within three, 15-18.  But even with old Uncle Mo on their side, Timpanogos didn’t quite have enough left to overcome an eight goal deficit in a single quarter and Pleasant Grove won the last faceoff with under two minutes to go and was able to run out the clock.
“We were happy with how the kids played and didn’t give up,” said Houghton, “it was overall a good team effort,” and it showed:  Pleasant Grove ended the game with five players with hat tricks on the night, “Sam Anderson and Chad Renslow played awesome.”
Houghton’s other thoughts on the game: “Credit to Timp.  They’re a great team, they’re coached well, and they played hard.  It’s good to go into the playoffs riding a win.  We wanted to go out on a high note.  [In the playoffs] we’ve gotta tighten some things up and come out strong.”
The win give Pleasant Grove the No. 4 seed and home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs next week, while Timpanogos looks to be on the outside looking in because of a tie-breaker loss to Bonneville.

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