Woodlands 8U Green Rude Guests in Houston Taking Down HYLAX 11-2

By: Doug Sarant
| Published 03/29/2021

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THE WOODLANDS, TX - Asher Presnall and The Woodlands 8U green team traveled to Houston for a Sunday mid-afternoon tilt with HYLAX (Houston Youth Lacrosse) and continued their undefeated ways by turning a first half nail biter into a fourth quarter snooze fest in taking the city boys down, 11-2.

Presnall led all scorers with three goals and an assist while collecting two ground balls and a caused turnover for good measure. BUT WAIT, like Remco there's more. Asher has become quite the handyman in the face-off circle winning four undisputed and unassisted draws. While Presnall's shooting percentage (25%) on the day was sub-standard by his own admission, it is inherently obvious this talented athlete has a lot left in the tank. Expect more great things from this eighth grader before he graduates in 2025.

The Woodlands (12-0) took a 4-2 lead into the locker room at halftime with the game still in doubt. In the first half HYLAX was ALL IN contesting every ground ball to keep the Highlanders in their sights, but you could tell their train was in derail mode shortly after the third quarter had begun.

Enter James Whitehorse wheeling around the goal from X with an aggressive HYLAX defender all over him like a cheap shirt. Undeterred, Whitehorse took a no-angle shot and landed it in the only place the goal would allow which was a three-inch space top right just out of the reach of the talented lefty HYLAX netminder. If you were able to read the goalie's face after he saw the ball sneak by him, you know his thoughts were something along the lines of...'Are you frigging kidding me with that shot placement?'

Oh, but Whitehorse was just getting started because exactly 91 seconds later he made the same move from behind that the HYLAX defenseman defended perfectly, AGAIN! It was all for naught though as James put the ball in the same place he had just put the ball a minute and a half previous. The HYLAX goalie was now probably saying...'Whatever!' It should be mentioned the HYLAX goalie was standing on his head in making 14 saves throughout the game. This lefty can obviously stop the rock!

At this point in the game, for all intents and purposes the contest was over as the Highlanders finished the game on a nine goal-run.

Woodlands Green is not 12-0 because of the offense alone. Did I mention their talented defense didn't allow a goal from the five-minute mark of the second quarter to the closing bell? The offense took a while to get untracked which was about the whole first half so it was up to the big uglies to hold it down back there until the smelling salts woke up the offense. The Woodlands protectors have been playing lockdown defense every minute of every game. You don't stay undefeated with a defense that has occasional lapses which you would expect from a bunch of eighth graders...and yet, they play as solidly as a bunch of college athletes.

Holding down the defensive fort is The Woodlands gifted netminder, Steele Croom. You may be wondering how the defense works so well together as it's certainly not by osmosis. If you key on Croom you'll notice he is never silent. He is always telling his D where the ball is, when to slide, how far they are from the goal, running the clear and so much more. Much of the reason HYLAX didn't get many quality shots off is because the defense was where they were supposed to be at all times, all game long. There's a reason for that. It's called good communication from the goalie. When the HYLAX offense was able to penetrate, Croom had the angle forcing shooters to hit pipe or just miss the cage completely. Your average fan will look at stats only and fail to look at the game within the game. Often times, the stats don't paint the whole picture. In fact, often times they paint squat!

Coach Mike Opdenaker talks about the game...

'With Spring Break hitting us right in the middle of our season, it always takes some time to get everything back on track the first game after the break. We started slowly, but our defense was solid throughout the first half and held up while our offense worked out the kinks. We were able to put it all together by the end and finished strong.'

STATS:

Stockton Steward: Two goals, two assists and a CTO.
JR Faria: One goal and six FO's.
Ford Graham: One goal and a GB.
CJ Ambrose: One goal, one assist, one CTO, one GB and three FO's.
James Whitehorse: Three goals and one CTO.
Daniel Villa: Two GB's and two CTO's.
Ben Cole: Two CTO's and four GB's.
Mason Wendle: Three GB's.
Hayden Johnson: One CTO and three GB's.
JD Rafferty: Two CTO's and two GB's.
Bryce Watherholt: One GB
Hayden Martin: One GB
Hudson Semple: Two CTO's and five GB's.
Steele Croom: Two GB's.
Alex Bills: One GB.
Marcus McDonnell: One GB
Hayden Martin: One GB.

The Woodlands 8th Grade Green next plays on April 10 at Alden Bridge Sports Park: Gametime: 4pm

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