The annual showdown between Lake Oswego and Lakeridge's boys water polo teams tends to bring out the best in both squads and that was the case again this year. Lake Oswego prevailed 9-5 but not before the Pacers hung tough, fighting back to draw within one goal in the third quarter before the Lakers pulled away.
Defense reigned in the opening quarter as goalies Cooper Robbins and John Verlinich each made a pair of stellar saves.
The Lakers' Beau Brumley got the scoring started with a nice goal from point-blank range. On Lakeridge's next possession, Zac Yensen had a shot saved and his rebound shot hit the post.
Brumley scored again for the Lakers to make the score 2-0 and the Pacers' Yensen and Joey Bora each had shots that were turned away.
But Lakeridge recovered in the second quarter. Robbins scored a nice goal that skipped off the water and into the net to trim the lead in half and, moments later, Yensen put in his first tally of the contest to tie the score.
On defense, Lakeridge concentrated on shutting down Brumley but were only marginally successful. After some physical play, Brumley was awarded a penalty shot that he easily scored and he put in another shot just minutes later, making the score 4-2 at the half.
'Brumley is our offensive threat. He is the guy we are looking to get the ball to every time down the pool,' Laker coach T.J. Harney said.
But the Pacers weren't finished yet. Just minutes into the second half, Lakeridge's Matt Murray scored to close the gap again but then the Lakers started to pull away.
Brumley scored three more goals in the quarter, including a pretty back-hand shot and Lake Oswego's Johnny Urstadt added another goal to make the score 8-4 with one more period to play.
In the fourth quarter, Robbins had a pair of shots that were blocked nicely before Brumley scored his final goal of the night on a breakaway.
Brumley had eight of his team's nine goals and was virtually unstoppable all evening.
Finally, with 16 seconds remaining, Robbins scored on a skip shot for the final tally of the game.
This year, the Laker boys are hoping to make another appearance in the state tournament but will need to be consistent to achieve that goal but expectations are high.
'We have a lot of young players coming up such as Ross Wardrop who is starting and making a real impact along with John Verlinich, our goalie and Tamas Thibeau is by far our best defender. But we have a long way before we are going to be ready for state,' Harney said.
Lake Oswego will receive a strong test next Monday when it takes on Newberg, the defending state champions.
Lakeridge is led on offense by Yensen, Bora and Robbins (also the team's shallow-end goalie). Ryan McCulloch is the team's deep-end goalie.
The Pacers continue to improve and had a solid turnout of players this season.