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An energetic crowd was on hand for Poly’s Senior Day victory over Millikan on Wednesday afternoon, which saw the Jackrabbits score first, and never fall behind, in an impressive 8-4 victory.
It took a while for both offenses to get going in a cagey first quarter, which also saw some big saves from both goalkeepers. When Poly finally found their groove on offense however, they did so with two big counter attacks, which led to goals from both Charlie Pruett and Reece Hammond. Colin Soohoo, then followed by adding a third, to give the Jackrabbits a 3-0 lead. All three ended up finishing with two goals each, to lead the Jackrabbits in scoring.
The Rams however, didn’t go quietly in the first quarter. Despite facing a tough Poly defense, the Rams pulled one back with a goal from Logan White, making the score 3-1, and giving Millikan momentum heading into the second quarter.
“I think we played well”, said Millikan head coach Danely Smith. “We came out with a lot of intensity, and a lot of heart. We played really good defense. We just couldn’t put it together on offense.”
Despite these offensive struggles, the Rams still managed to put pressure on the Poly defense for much of the match.
“I think it was kind of an equal contribution”, said Smith. “Obviously Max Miller is a force to be reckoned with when he steps up, so he played really well”.
Miller finished with two of Millikan’s four goals, the first of which was a spectacular shot from long range, which made for the most impressive goal of the game.
“We push a balanced team approach”, said coach Smith, who highlighted guys like Logan White, Noah Goeku, and D.J. Keller, as impact performers on offense for the Rams.
Goals were at a premium for both teams throughout much of the game, which was the result of fantastic goalkeeper play on both ends. For Poly, goalie Charlie Lemmis had nine saves, which was crucial for a Jackrabbit team who managed to keep the lead from start to finish.
Lemmis really stepped up for Poly in a crucial third quarter. His four saves–one of which was a crucial stop on a five meter penalty shot–allowed Poly to outscore Millikan 1-0 in this quarter, and take a 5-2 lead heading into the fourth.
Poly head coach Ish Pluton shared praise for his goalie.
“He had some massive saves. He blocked the crap out of the five meter penalty. He absolutely kept us in that, and the whole team rallied around his saves. It was great.”
Lemmis’ save of the five meter shot proved to be the play of the game. Had Millikan scored, the deficit would’ve been cut to one, and Poly would’ve been clinging to a dangerous 4-3 lead, down the stretch.
“We had to fight all the way through the end to win it”, said Pluton, who described the message he sent to his team before the start of the fourth quarter. “We weren’t going to be able to let off the gas. We’d have to keep going and keep working because Millikan was still fired up and ready to play”.
These words clearly resonated with a Poly team who seemed to find their grove offensively in the fourth quarter. Goals from Beau Wade, Markus Cruz and Reece Hammond in that final quarter propelled the Jackrabbits to a tenacious 8-4 victory.
When asked about the offensive shift that occurred in the fourth quarter, coach Pluton explained, “We started playing a little bit smarter with our passes. We were dumping into the center a little too early in the first three quarters. I think we were a little bit more patient in the fourth.”
Both teams will conclude their Moore League schedules on Wednesday with Poly visiting Cabrillo and Millikan facing a big test at home against Wilson.