Four weeks ago, Thousand Oaks led Westlake 9-5 with about five minutes left in the third quarter before the Warriors flipped a switch and won going away, 14-9.
Wednesday night, Thousand Oaks led Westlake 9-4 with about eight minutes left in the third quarter after Westlake had scored two quick goals and appeared to be flipping that proverbial switch again for another comeback.
This time, though, Thousand Oaks answered. Sophomore Zac Asbury scored off a failed Westlake clear. Roy Ward scored man-up, and Zach Byington put one in 30 seconds later. Suddenly, T.O. led 12-4 with 5:55 left in the third quarter, Westlake had called timeout, and the No. 5 Lancers were running away from the previously unbeaten and No. 3-ranked Warriors.
Rather than another Westlake comeback, this one ended with a 17-8 T.O. victory. Thousand Oaks (12-3, 6-1), last year’s Marmonte League champion, can claim a share of this year’s title by winning at No. 9 Newbury Park (12-4, 5-3) on Friday. Westlake (13-1, 7-1) finishes its regular season Friday at home vs. Oaks Christian.
Asbury led the Lancers with five goals, but Byington was the offensive star with three goals and six assists. Ward, Nick Auger and Dillon Pentiss also scored three goals each.
Freshman faceoff middie Matt Parham dominated the third quarter for Thousand Oaks. He won 10 of 11 draws as the Lancers turned an 8-2 lead that still was within reach for the Warriors into a 16-5 blowout that actually went to a running clock briefly in the fourth quarter.
The first time the teams met, Parham dominated the first half at the faceoff dot as T.O. built a lead, but Westlake managed to neutralize him in the second half, which helped spur their comeback. This time, Parham got better as the game went on.
With Parham providing possession in the third quarter — and a T.O. claiming a 7-0 edge in groundballs in the period — the Lancers’ offense clicked, taking 18 shots and putting nine of them on goal. Eight of them found the net, and T.O. led 16-5 heading into the fourth quarter.
As @VCSpreps (Ventura County Star) pointed out on Twitter, it was the first time in 14 games that Westlake allowed an opponent to score double-digit goals and also the first time all season the Warriors had been held to single-digit scoring.