The Riverton Silverwolves gained a quick lead against the Alta Hawks Wednesday night, but after the first quarter, the Hawks took the game and ran with it. Alta stood out on both ends of the field, securing them the 13-4 win over Riverton.
The Hawks have some of the most talented offensive players in the state. An attack that includes Harrison Waddoups, Tanner Brown and Kyle Baldassari is tough to defend. The Hawks also equip some of the most intense and athletic defensive players. They will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the playoffs this season.
The game began and Riverton quickly won the opening face-off. They started passing the ball around and looked great on offense. They had taken 5 shots before Alta even had a chance to touch the ball. As the quarter continued, Riverton continued to look good on offense. Alta was taking their turn with the ball as well, but having a difficult time scoring on Riverton goalie Chad Wood. Riverton took a two-point lead, but in the final minutes Alta was able to tie the game at two.
“They got up two, and we just kind of settled down,” commented Alta Head Coach Mark Davis. “Once we got that first goal, we just started clicking and we went the rest of the game. I think it’s the best we have looked all year.”
Coach Davis continued, “First-round jitters are over. Riverton has a phenomenal goalie. I told my team before, and have always had the mentality, that if you have a good goalie, anything can happen. He, [Chad Wood], started off really well.”
In the next two quarters, Alta’s offense really started to connect. They were firing plenty of shots and winning the possession, forcing the ball to remain on their end of the field much of the time. While Alta was taking about 25 shots between the two quarters, Riverton was held to just 3.
Although Riverton’s defense was playing really well, Alta was riding their clears very hard. Alta had stepped up their defense leaps and bounds from the first quarter. Alta’s checks were relentless, sometimes so hard that Alta players were occasionally knocking their own sticks to the ground.
This caliber of defensive that the Hawks were playing did not let up in the final quarter. Rides, in fact, were even more aggressive. At the end of the final, Riverton again began to find the groove they had in the first and scored two more goals, but had clearly fallen to the Hawks.
Alta’s final goal was scored by an honorary player: Johnny Waddoups. Johnny is the younger brother of attackman Harrison Waddoups. Johnny has Down Syndrome, but that doesn’t affect his love for lacrosse. Johnny is a friend to all and one of Alta’s biggest fans. He is always on the sidelines to support the team. Johnny entered the game in the final minute, donning the number 24, his older brother’s jersey. He scored the team’s thirteenth goal after taking the ball from the top of the box, curling around the crease, hitting the pipe, getting the rebound and slotting it home.
On Saturday night, No. 3 Alta will host the No. 7 Jordan Beetdiggers in the second round of playoffs. Alta and Jordan have already met this season and the Hawks came out on top, 9-4.
Coach Davis talked about the upcoming match-up, “We got Jordan. They beat Bountiful. We played them two weeks ago. Good team, solid team. We gotta come out and play hard like we did tonight. I don’t take any team for granted. Playoffs, anything can happen. One and done, that’s it.”