Neagle's hat trick keeps Raiders in playoffs


The Mirror

To say Jefferson’s Lamar Neagle is on a goal-scoring binge would be downplaying what the senior has done lately.

Neagle has tallied 16 goals in the Raiders’ last five matches — all TJ victories. Wednesday night, the slightly-built Neagle notched another hat trick, his third during the streak, to lead the Raiders (11-2-4) to a 3-1 win over the Auburn Riverside Ravens (7-4-6) in a loser-out game at the South Puget Sound League Tournament at Bethel High School. The three goals bumped Neagle’s season total to 24.

“I’m just getting the chances,” Neagle said. “I just try to play the same way the whole time. We just went after it. In the playoffs if you lose, you go home.”

Neagle and a solid defensive effort from the Raiders’ back line weren’t going to let that happen against Auburn Riverside, the fourth-place team from the SPSL North.

The victory, their eighth in their last nine games, earned the Raiders a trip down Interstate-5 today for a West Central/Southwest District match against the Greater St. Helen’s League champion Heritage Timberwolves at 1 p.m. at Camas High School. The winner advances into the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs, which will be played Tuesday or Wednesday.

“This West Central District game is always the toughest game,” said TJ coach Darren Sawatzky. “They are as ready as they can be. From here on out you have to bring your A-game or you go home. I don’t know that much about them, but I will find out.”

What is clear is the fact Neagle will be the focus of Heritage’s defense. But he is getting used to being a marked man and it really doesn’t matter, especially Wednesday against Auburn Riverside.

The University of Nevada-Las Vegas-bound midfielder tallied the first of his three goals with 10:55 left in the first half when he dribbled through the Raven defense and snuck a low drive through the arms of Auburn Riverside goalkeeper Max Walker.

The Ravens did come back after halftime to tie the game at 1-1 after Taylor Wagemans snuck a shot by TJ keeper Tyler Jeffcoat eight minutes into the second half.

“They really found that goal,” Sawatzky said. “It came against the flow of the game. I think it kind of woke Lamar up.”

Neagle gave the Raiders the lead for good just

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