The season is winding down and many of the remaining games are conference games, making each win crucial for teams pushing to make playoffs. The Highland Rams picked up their third conference win as they defeated the West Jordan Jaguars by a score of 11-8 on Thursday in West Jordan.
In the match-up between the Rams and the Jaguars, execution of the fundamentals was the difference maker. The team who could pick up ground balls or win face-offs was able to control the ball on offense and eventually score. Both teams struggled on defense and both team’s goalies had their ups and downs.
Highland started with an early two point lead, but by the end of the first half West Jordan had brought the game to a tie.
“We struggled today with the fundamentals,” said Highland Head Coach Neil Blaney, “with ground balls and passing. We know what we are capable of doing. When we do it, we play well.”
In the second quarter, both teams began to struggle with their passing, including while clearing the ball. This attributed to lots of ground balls and less shooting opportunities throughout most of the quarter. The first half ended with Highland having a one point lead.
Early in the third quarter, Highland began to control the ball better than they had been all game. This allowed them to score three straight goals. Nearing the end of the quarter, Highland picked up a penalty and West Jordan had a real shot at turning the game around. They were able to score during the man-up situation. They started winning face-offs and set up some great offensive plays. They scored three more in a row to tie the game up at the end of third.
With the momentum the Jags had, it looked as if they were going to take the game away from the Rams. Highland had other plans for the fourth quarter. Their offense continued to improve. West Jordan’s offense also had many great looks, but Highland Goalie Jacob DeLaMare stepped up big and made some great saves. West Jordan was held to just one goal in the final quarter while Highland scored four, winning 11-8.
“Our goalie stood out to me today,” commented Blaney. “I can’t wait to see how many saves he got. He stopped a lot of high percentage shots.”
There were several key Highland players in this game. Midfielder Ethan Lovin scored three goals and picked up an assist. Attackman Tommy Jacobsen had two goals and two assists of his own.
West Jordan will play again tomorrow against Murray. The Spartans have yet to win a game this season. Highland is set to play against rival East on Saturday at the East Football Stadium. The Leopards are 4-4 in conference play so far.