Despite an 8-4 loss, the Oasis Academy Bighorns lacrosse team was all smiles.
The Bighorns came up short in the first-ever lacrosse game on Saturday in Churchill County, as the Mount Rose Rattlers (south Reno) charmed their way to a preseason win.
John Keitz, coach of the Bighorns, said he was surprised and thrilled for his team and the many who came to watch.
Victor Sanchez led the way for Oasis with two goals, while Kaden Stone and Trent Thorn each scored once. In net, Conor Keitz and Stone held the Rattlers to eight goals as each goaltender each played one half.
Thorn, meanwhile, won all but one of his faceoffs and David Springfield led the penalty-kill unit to stop all three power-plays. Thorn’s goal, though, was unassisted as the first-year player won the faceoff, sliced through the defense and buried a shot.
“We had a great game,” Bighorns coach John Keitz said. “I was really impressed with our guys because that south Reno team has been together for awhile.”
Keitz said an area of focus before the regular season opens April 13 is to become more fluid with cradling the ball. Cradling allows the players to catch and pick up the ball in the webbing of the stick.
Keitz said his club missed numerous opportunities to attack because his team struggled to cradle the ball. Nevertheless, Keitz said the atmosphere was upbeat and even the official’s helped breakdown the game during halftime to fans.
“The officials were outstanding,” the coach said. “They explained the calls … and I think that really helped out. We had a great crowd there, and I was really impressed with how many people showed up.”
The day, though, was more about installing a new sport and avenue for the young athletes, Kietz said. It took Keitz and Oasis Academy four years to secure a grant through the First Stick Program, which allowed Oasis to purchase the equipment.
“Personally, it instilled a great sense of achievement,” Keitz said. “The kids and the support from everybody … was almost overwhelming. You would think the kids would be bummed from a loss, but they weren’t.”
As for the rest of this season, Keitz said a schedule has not been finalized, although a game for April 6 is scheduled. Reno and Galena will play a neutral-game high school league game followed by Oasis.
On April 6, the under-13 league Oasis competes in will host a jamboree, which will constitute of numerous scrimmages. The week of April 13, however, opens the regular season and runs through the first week of June, Keitz added.