While temperatures were cool in Westlake Village on Wednesday night, sixth-ranked Westlake warmed up quickly after its short trip down the street and took it to neighborhood and Marmonte League rival No. 2 Oaks Christian in a 15-9 upset.
This was arguably the most impressive win of the season for the Warriors (8-3, 4-0), and they remain hot with a five-game win streak following their tight, 10-8 loss to Orange County power Foothill on March 20. Sometimes in losses, you can find victory.
“Losing to Foothill was the biggest win of the year, and it was a loss,” Warriors coach Peter Swander said. “That was a program stepping forward, because it’s always been 16-1 against those Orange County boys. So that’s when we knew we could play with anyone.”
The biggest takeaway from Westlake’s impressive victory starts at the ‘X’ with the performance of Jacob Martin, who was a stellar 23 of 28 (82 percent) on face-offs.
“[Martin] is 80 percent on the year, and we call him ‘Plan A,'” Swander said.
Martin (2g, 1a) also got the Warriors going with his shot, scoring the first of five unanswered by Westlake only 11 seconds into the game. Six of Westlake’s seven goals in the first quarter came directly off a face-off win.
“I love getting assists,” Martin said. “I’m all about drawing a man and dumping it. But [Oaks Christian] was pressing back, and I just saw the lane open, so I took it.”
Carson Kuhl (5g, 1a) scored three of his five goals in the first half, which really propelled the Warriors offense. Cade Rogers (3g, 4a) Mike Spaeth (2g), and Hayden Kyrstiniak (1g) helped keep the Lions relevant in the first half but faced an uphill battle at the break, down 10-5.
The Lions (9-2, 3-1) chipped away in the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors 3-1 with offensive contributions from Carson Campbell (2g), Ronny Redell (1a) and Spaeth. Oaks Christian was hanging on, down by only three with a quarter to go.
“Hopefully with this win, we’ll continue to have that growth,” Martin said.
While Oaks Christian has had an impressive year and their loss to Westlake does not diminish that, they’ve dipped backwards with their second loss in as many games, which could have potential negative implications when the new coaches poll get’s released on Monday.
The loss was the second in a row for Oaks Christian after a 9-0 start. The Lions lost to No. 1 Palos Verdes on Friday. They are now 4-2 against Top 10 teams, but those wins are by a combined seven goals.
After the game, Lions head coach Jeremy Sieverts had one loud and clear message for his team going forward.
“We’re not going to win any games giving up 15 goals,” Sieverts said. “We’ve got to get better. I think we were a little content when we showed up at the beginning of the week, and we didn’t have what it took [Wednesday] to make the plays to win the game.”
The Lions will look to get back on track Friday night when they host No. 15 Newbury Park in a Marmonte League game. The Warriors, meanwhile, will put their winning streak and recent success on the line against No. 4 Loyola on Friday night.