Lacrosse finishes out pre-District play against notable opponents

The lacrosse season has kicked off in the most difficult of fashions. Arguably starting with one of the more difficult schedules in the state, the Westlake team has taken the Dallas and Houston powerhouses by storm in their pre-District play.


With tons of talent on the team, expectations are high for a run in the State playoffs following last year’s loss in the semi-finals to returning champions Highland Park. With 6 Division I commits and depth in the roster, the team took trips to Dallas and Houston to face top ranked competition.


The two first games that the Chaps faced were the ninth ranked St. Mark’s Lions and the first ranked Highland Park Scots. In a close game at St. Mark’s, the Chaps split a 5-5 tie at halftime to win the game 9-6. Following the next day, the Chaps faced their previous rivals from last year’s playoffs. In a surprisingly high defeat, the Chaps fell 3-12.


“St. Marks was a huge first game, winning definitely boosted our confidence right out the gate,” senior Preston Henley said. “Highland Park was a different story though, a good wake up call for us for the rest of the season.”


Following a difficult loss in Dallas, the Chaps faced the returning State champions and second ranked Dallas Jesuit at the Westridge fields. Coming out flying, the team went goal for goal against the Rangers into the fourth quarter. Going into the final 10 minutes the game was tied at 4-4 only to see a final lead being taken by Jesuit, beating the Chaps 4-5.


“Our energy was so high for that game,” Preston said. “Everyone showed up hyped, and we came out flying. The loss sucked, but made us realize we can run with the top competitors in state.”


In their final home game in pre-District play, the Chaps faced the Anderson Trojans, easily conquering a 16-5 win over the developing team out of north Austin.


“Austin teams are a different story for us,” captain senior Oliver Dina said. “We don’t face as tough competition for us compared to the Dallas or Houston teams, but we develop as a team during these games and perfect our skills.”


For the last two games before Spring Break, the team travelled down to Houston for a weekend to fight the fourth ranked Woodland Highlanders and Kingwood Mustangs. Arriving that day, the Chaps faced a brutal game losing to the Highlanders 4-16, an outcome no one was prepared for.


“[Woodlands was] brutal,” Oliver said. “Embarrassing because of the way we had been playing. No one was happy about that, but it definitely set us up for Kingwood in the right mindset.”


Following the loss, the team faced Kingwood the next day pulling out a 9-5 victory in orderly fashion after the wake up call the previous day. Most notably, goalkeeper junior Rob Soluri committed to Virginia Military Institute that morning and proceeded to have over 15 saves that game.


“[Kingwood] was awesome,” Rob said. “We came out not expecting to have to compete against them so hard, but once we woke up, we performed. Our energy was so high and it was raining like crazy. The win was necessary, and brought our team together crucially.”