Spring came early on a beautiful afternoon for lacrosse Tuesday in West Hills where No. 3 Oaks Christian (5-0) remained hot and defeated yet another top-five team, this time a 10-8 road win at No. 5 Chaminade (3-2). Mike Spaeth (5g,1a) and Cade Rogers (2g, 3a) led the Lions with impressive six- and five-point performances, respectively.
“They’re good players, and we ask a lot from them,” Lions coach Jeremy Sieverts said. “But we ask a lot out of all our guys. [Spaeth and Rogers] are going to get a lot of attention, no doubt, but we have four other guys on the field all the time that are doing little things that’ll never get in the stat book, and those things matter.”
It wasn’t all that easy for the Lions, especially early, as the Eagles outscored them 3-1 in the first quarter. Chaminade was led by Nico Rabushka (3g, 1a), who scored two of his three goals in the opening frame.
Overall, the Lions had their best quarter in the second, outscoring the Eagles 4-1 to go up 5-4 at the half. Spaeth led the charge with two points in the frame, and Mikey Thomson (8 saves) had three impressive saves between the pipes to help at the defensive end.
While the Lions scored two early goals in the third quarter, things were starting to get sloppy for Oaks Christian, which committed three penalties in the frame alone. Chaminade took advantage all three times, scoring three unanswered goals in man-up situations and tying the game 7-7 entering the fourth.
“I felt like most of the goals we gave up were self-inflicted wounds,” Sieverts said. “Whether we were man-down, couldn’t clear well, or a bad turnover on offense. Those are scenarios where it’s really tough to play good defense when you just played defense for awhile. But I think our guys held on.”
The Lions did more than hold on in the final quarter — they put their foot on the gas at both ends of the field, blanking Chaminade for the first 11 minutes of the quarter while extending their lead to 10-7. Rogers and Spaeth connected on two of the three goals scored for Oaks Christian.
Presley Regier (1g, 1a), Luke Hermelee (1g), Ronny Redell (1g), and Nate Lenthall (1a) rounded out the Lions scoring. Defensively, Lenthall and Josh Harrison were key contributors down the stretch, each finishing with three ground balls.
As a team, Oaks Christian continues to impress with a perfect 5-0 record, including wins over No. 4 Harvard Westlake, No. 6 Agoura, and now No. 5 Chaminade. The Lions have moved up four spots in the latest coaches poll.
“I’m proud of how we’ve started out the year,” Sieverts said. “We’ve worked pretty hard, and we’re going to continue to work hard. Obviously, we don’t ignore the polls, but we also don’t let them dictate what we do on a daily basis.”
Rabushka (3g, 1a) led Chaminade, which also received offensive contributions from Owen Larson (2g, 1a), Trevor Roberts (1g), James Tota (1g), Nino Leone (1g) and Ryan Stevens (1a). Larson also led the team in ground balls with four.
Oaks Christian will look to stay hot Friday night with a road match against No. 12 Crespi (2-4). Chaminade hopes to get back in the win column Friday night in front of their home crowd against No. 9 Sierra Canyon (2-2).