William Byrd lacrosse teams will visit Salem today

Byrd’s Matt Tench(#4) battles for the ball in Saturday’s game at Cave Spring.
Ali Shail carries the ball.

The William Byrd lacrosse teams will be playing Salem for the first time as official Virginia High School League members when the Terriers travel to Spartan Field today. Game time is 5:30 pm for the boys and approximately 7:15 pm for the girls’ game.

Vinton and Salem were two of the first areas in the valley to pick up the game, but Salem became a school team while Vinton continued to play as a club sport under the name East Roanoke Bandits. Last year Byrd became an official school team, but the Terriers didn’t have Salem scheduled.

This could become a good rivalry. Both schools are Group 4A and members of Conference 24, and when both were club teams the rivalry was intense. Salem is off to a good start this season, as both their boys and girls beat Western Albemarle last Friday in their season openers.

The Byrd boys opened their season on Friday night against Roanoke Catholic and dropped a 14-1 decision. Matt Tench scored the only goal for the Terriers.

On Saturday both teams played at Cave Spring. The Knights jumped to an early 6-0 lead on the boys and went on to win 8-1. Again Tench scored the only goal.

“Once we adjusted our defense they only scored two more goals over the next 3 quarters,” said Byrd coach Noel Spencer.

Saturday was the season opener for the girls. This was a good game, but Cave Spring came out on top by a 10-9 score.

“This was our first game of the season since the EC Glass and Rockbridge games were postponed due to weather,” said coach Dan Eberhardt. “Since it was our first game and the team consists of primarily freshman and new players with a sprinkling of returners we struggled to find a comfort zone and went back and forth for the entire game.”

Cave Spring took the lead with about a minute remaining. Byrd got possession back with about 15 seconds left in the game but could not get a shot off for a tie. Ali Shail, Chloe Pascoe, Tabitha Beecher, and Natalie Ferguson each had two goals while Katie Letz had one. Goalie Evamarie Pascoe had 12 saves.

On Tuesday the girls made up the game with Glass and lost another close one. The game was tied at 9-9 with just under two minutes to go before the Hilltoppers score three times for a 12-9 final.

Leading the offense was Shail and Beecher, scoring three goals each. Leading the defense was Pascoe with seven saves and freshman Emmy Harris, who created multiple turnovers with one turnover leading to a goal for the Terriers.

“I could not be more proud of my young team,” said Eberhardt. “They played an incredible game against a very skilled and well developed program.”

Next week the boys are at William Fleming on Tuesday and the girls host Fleming on Wednesday.