Pacer boys roll past West Linn
The Lakeridge boys soccer team looked phenomenal for the majority of its first league match against West Linn, but there were periods where it was obvious that it is still just the third game of the season for the Pacers.
Lakeridge dominated its rivals from West Linn for nearly the entire contest, getting off 31 shots on the night, including 13 on-goal and took a 4-0 lead at one point before yielding two sloppy goals in the final 20 minutes of play for a 4-2 victory.
The stage was set for a total blowout early on as the Pacers ran roughshod over the Lions for the entire first half. Just 47 seconds into the contest, Facundo Dipascuale sent a ball into the box that was corralled by Eric Destefano who volleyed it out of the air and into the net for a quick score.
Destefano was a one-man wrecking crew for most of the game, firing a number of shots that were turned away by West Linn goalkeeper Joe Offer.
'The first (league) game's always hard. It was a good result. West Linn's a good team, they always come to play but there are some things we need to work on,' Destefano said.
The Lions only got off one real scoring chance in the first half but it was a good one as Pierce Nubaum headed a ball off the crossbar.
Lakeridge fired 10 shots in the first 20 minutes of play and 17 in the first half alone but struggled slightly at finishing those chances.
'Four goals is good but we had so many other opportunities and we need to finish those or we're going to be in some games that are closer than they should be,' coach Paul Slover said.
Corey Rosenfeld, Dipascuale and Destefano put on a clinic up front with nice one-touch passes. Midway through the first half, Lakeridge goalie Jason Dodson nearly picked up an assist when his long punt was received by Destefano deep in West Linn territory, but the ensuing shot was saved.
'The one thing we always talk about is our passing. That's what we're trying to work on is the speed of play,' Destefano said.
With just under 17 minutes to play in the half, Johnathan Warner made a nice pass to Destefano who knocked it into the far post. In the closing minutes of the half, Taylor Thompson and Warner each had shots that narrowly missed.
The second half started similarly to the first. Just two minutes after the whistle, Destefano hit a hard shot that was turned away but the rebound went to Grant Branam who buried a shot into the open net.
Minutes later, Dipascuale turned in the play of the night. After saving a ball that was headed out of bounds, Dipascuale laid the ball back and then sprinted down the left side of the field for a give and go.
He then beat two defenders and juked the goalie for an easy score and a 4-0 lead.
Then, perhaps understandably, the Pacers let up a bit. West Linn got on the board a few minutes later on a cross in front of the net. Lakeridge continued to keep up the pressure on offense but the goal energized the Lions.
With seven minutes to play in the game, West Linn's Ryan Kurtin received the ball on the end line and the Pacers struggled to clear it. Eventually Kurtin got free and put the ball directly in front of the net before it was knocked in.
'The second half we just gave up too much and let them play a little bit. Once we did that it gave them a little confidence,' Slover said.
Still, Lakeridge proved that it is one of the elite teams in the state once again and, when it is on its game, can be nearly impossible to stop.
Next up for the Pacers will be Putnam on Thursday.