Injury-plagued Alhambra lacrosse struggles to keep up with Clayton Valley

Hunter Tranthem tries to force a shot on goal in the Bulldogs’ 10-2 loss to Clayton Valley on March 15, 2016. (GERARDO RECINOS / Martinez Tribune)
Hunter Tranthem tries to force a shot on goal in the Bulldogs’ 10-2 loss to Clayton Valley on March 15, 2016. (GERARDO RECINOS / Martinez Tribune)

Martinez Tribune

When you have half a team, you get half a game of solid play.

Or so it seems for the Alhambra varsity lacrosse team, who lost on Tuesday, March 15, in Concord against Clayton Valley by a score of 10-2.

After the game coach Al Boyce reeled off a list of injured players who were missing. At the top of that list is leading scorer senior Jason Rubio, who despite missing four games is still tied for the scoring lead with 15 goals. Junior Marc Moore, a goal-scorer against Clayton Valley, is tied for the lead. Moore has played in all eight games.

Alhambra got off the ground quickly, scoring in the first two minutes. Junior Jack Eaves weaved between defenders and fired his shot in to stun the Eagles, and surprise the stragglers who hadn’t quite made their way to their seats.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, that would be their only goal of the half.

But when the defense is absorbing all the pressure, you can live with the scoring output.

True, Clayton Valley didn’t relinquish much possession in the first half, but the defense did a good job of protecting senior keeper Cole Barberini.

The Bulldogs were able to reel of a pair of penalty kills in the first half after failing to capitalize on one of their own six minutes into the opening period.

It wasn’t until the start of the second period of play that the Eagles broke the resolute Bulldog defense. Just like Alhambra, Clayton Valley scored straight away from the whistle to open the period.

Only eight seconds had come off the block, which lead Boyce to shout from the sidelines to his players, “can’t let them in that easy!”

But Clayton Valley would have to work for their goals from that point on. They scored with five minutes on the block to take the lead, capitalizing on a rebounded save by Barberini, whose defenders couldn’t win the ground ball and stop the second chance shot.

The Eagles scored once more before the end of the half, and then lack of depth caught up with Alhambra.

With five freshman getting time for Boyce’s team, the Bulldogs would’ve needed a miracle to get something out of the game. Instead, the few healthy upperclassmen were forced to play on, well past the point of fatigue.

Boyce did his best to introduce substitutions to alleviate stress on the key players like senior Garrett Arreaga. But he found himself needing more players with experience off the bench.

Still, even Boyce will continue to stay positive despite the injuries plaguing the team. He knows that a 4-4 start, the best in the program’s history, going into Diablo Foothill Athletic League play is a big achievement for the team.

“I haven’t fielded a team at full strength yet this season,” he said after the game.

About Gerardo Recinos

Gerardo Recinos is a journalist currently living in Concord, Calif. He is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, with a degree in Journalism (History minor). Gerardo covers sports throughout Martinez and Pleasant Hill. It's his lifelong mission to get people in the U.S. to stop calling football "soccer," and to call American football "handegg."

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