By Ryan Clarke

The Bulletin

Huddled near a corner of the pool at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center, a cheering section of Bend High students sang the school’s fight song. The Lava Bears did not give them much to be excited about in a 17-4 loss to league foe Summit Thursday night, but the students remained, many of them sticking around for the girls game afterward.

Bend (3-12, 2-7 Southern League) was without star offensive player Ian Busby, who suffered a broken nose last week at a tournament in Albany. In September, Busby led Bend to an 8-7 win over the Storm. On a chilly October night with steam hovering above the water’s surface, Summit (13-8, 6-2 SL) got its revenge.

“Beating Summit last time was really a season-defining moment for us,” Bend coach Jason Henneman said. “I would’ve expected them to make adjustments, and we’re not as experienced or athletic, so that all made a difference.”

According to Henneman, the absence of Busby hampers the Lava Bears’ ability to score, and it doesn’t help that Bend is a young team made up of mostly freshmen. Summit coach Chris Smelser agreed. While he wished Busby a speedy recovery, Smelser admitted he was glad not to have to face him.

“He’s kind of the everyman for Bend,” Smelser said. “They call him the diver. Give him an elbow, someone’s leg and a cap string, and he’ll get a goal off.”

Thursday’s match was physical from the outset, including myriad fouls and stoppages throughout the first half of play. Summit led 5-0 at the end of the first quarter and 7-2 at halftime.

In the second half, the Lava Bears began to tire as Summit pulled away. The final quarter was 6-0 in favor of the Storm. Wyatt Eckholt led the way with seven goals in the contest, Chance Caruso picked up three of his own, and four Summit players had two apiece.

Despite the relative dominance, Smelser said his team has plenty to work on going forward.

“We had some issues with our passing,” he said. “That’s something that’s easy to clean up and easy to fix, but tonight we fixed the other things we had trouble with against Bend in the past.”

Zach Griswold is a captain for the Storm and one of seven seniors on Summit’s roster. He said the experience his team brings to each game, along with the group’s camaraderie, allows it to be successful.

“I started off as a swimmer,” Griswold said. “Playing a team sport and having that team aspect, I just liked it more. It’s an upgrade from swimming.

“I’ve been playing with a lot of these guys since freshman year. It’s fun to play with them and win some games.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0307,