Photo courtesy of Nick Ierardi

Redwoods Struggle to Recover From Early Deficit, Fall to 2-1

By Jerome Taylor

Jun 19, 2023

Sometimes it’s just not your night. 

That was the case for Redwoods LC on Saturday against the Whipsnakes. In an 18-11 loss, nothing was going their way. 

“The blame all starts at the top with us (coaches),” Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent said. These guys (players) played their hearts out… We didn't do a good job getting them ready early in the game.” 

The Redwoods came into the game 2-0, with the highest vibes in the league. Conversely, Whipsnakes LC was eager for a victory after an initial 0-2 season start, and they dominated the Redwoods for most of the game, except for the fourth quarter.

Before the final frame, the Redwoods started to come together on the defensive side, only allowing one goal in the third quarter. 

“When the onslaught was occurring, it obviously hurts, but we're a very confident group,” Eddy Glazener said.  “The message to one another is, ‘At this point, somebody's got to make a play, and we got to dial in,’ and you saw it in the second half.”

In the fourth, led by Ryder Garnsey, who finished with eight points (6 goals, 2 assists), the Redwoods scored six points in the quarter, but the deficit they faced was insurmountable. 

“Plain and simple, it shouldn't take us being down ten goals to get us to all of a sudden start playing hard on both sides,” Glazener said. “We came out of halftime, and we gave up one goal up until the very end… when it's 0-0, we should be playing the game that we played in the second half.”

By halftime, the Redwoods were down 13-3, and unlike last week’s win against Waterdogs, the ‘Woods couldn’t complete the comeback, but St. Laurent remains optimistic about the prospects for this team. 

“Our defense did an incredible job… and that's what starts the offense… We got some stops, we won some faceoffs, and then when we fixed the spacing on offense, we saw what we could do a little bit,” St Laurent said. 

“I love this team. I think we're going to be great… these are the games that we don't get back, but we certainly will learn from them.”

To begin the game, Tucker Dordevic and other Whipsnakes got whatever they wanted off their dodges from the top. 

Dordevic has had a hot start to his professional career, and it seemed to spread to the rest of the Whipsnakes' offense because by halftime eight different ‘Whips had registered a point. 

That balanced scoring starkly contrasted what was going on with the ‘Woods, as Garnsey was involved in all 3 of their first-half goals (2G, 1A). Outside of that, the Redwoods’ offense was frigid to start, shooting 3-17 in the first half.

However, after a halftime adjustment, they were able to put a scare into the Whipsnakes, pulling within four with 3:46 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

“We had two guys on the crease in the first half, and  [John Grant] Jr. wasn't pleased with how they were moving,” St. Laurent said about the strategic change. “We recommended going with one [guy on crease] with the umbrella up top for our middies, and that gave us a little bit more space.”

After getting within striking distance, some goals against the Redwoods’ 10-man ride sealed the victory for the ‘Whips.

Statistically, the Whipsnakes won every major battle except one – faceoff percentage. TD Ierlan and his wings won the faceoff battle 21-9. However, as the new shot clock rules continue to highlight, possession efficacy matters more than the number of possessions.

And the ‘Whips used the 2-point arc to get more out of their limited possessions. They scored three 2-pointers on the evening, which did more to push the Redwoods down the standings at the conclusion of the weekend. 

The Redwoods are one of four 2-1 teams heading into the bye, but because of their -5 score differential, they're in fourth place. But being 2-1 is still better than the alternative.

“We're going to learn lessons from this game. We got to move forward,” St. Laurent said. “We're 2-1 going into the break. It'd be nice to be 3-0, but we're  2-1. And we'll get ready to go when we come out of this break. ”

When the Redwoods return from the break for the World Lacrosse Games, they’ll be matching up against their bitter rival, Chaos LC, on July 9th, as both teams will be looking for a 3-1 start to the season.

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