Pacer boys win showdown for first place
The Lakeridge boys soccer team hit the midway point of the season unbeaten and, frankly, untested to date. Heading into Tuesday's game against Milwaukie, the Mustangs were in second place, just two points behind the Pacers and were expected to be Lakeridge's toughest test to date.
And while Milwaukie did put up a fight, the Pacers still had little difficulty picking up a win, tallying three second-half goals en route to a 5-1 victory.
'They're a good team. They're definitely the best opponent we've played to date,' coach Paul Slover said.
Lakeridge took a 2-0 lead at the half and then held on while the Mustangs continued to attack and scored two goals in the final five minutes to put the game out of reach.
Facundo Dipascuale notched Lakeridge's first goal midway through the opening half. A few minutes later, the Pacers earned a corner kick and Dipascuale connected with Eric Destefano to give his team a two-goal advantage.
Milwaukie was on its heels for the majority of the first half but still came away with a few decent chances.
'In the first half it looked like they were just going to counter attack but then they started trying to hold the ball and went at us,' Slover said.
After Dipascuale scored again early in the second half to give his team a comfortable three-goal lead, Milwaukie rebounded and knocked in its first score of the game.
But Lakeridge did well to not let down and continued to control the time of possession.
With time running out, Taylor Thompson officially locked up the victory for the Pacers when he took a feed from Destefano and knocked in a nice shot.
'Taylor's our second leading scorer this year and he's doing it without anyone really noticing,' Slover said.
With under a minute to go, Lakeridge added an exclamation point to its victory when DeStefano put in his second goal of the contest to complete the scoring.
'We just did a better job of finishing tonight. Their keeper did a nice job too and made several good saves,' Slover said.
That win came after a 2-0 victory on Thursday over Clackamas. Lakeridge was kept off the board in the first half and was frustrated by the Cavaliers' solid defensive play but the team broke through after the break.
Once again, Destefano and Dispascuale paced the offense, scoring a goal each.
'I was never really concerned about us getting beat but (Clackamas) did a nice job on defense,' Slover said.
Lakeridge's next game is on the road against a struggling West Linn team.
'We're doing alright and we still have time to get where we want to be. Right now it becomes a mental battle because everyone is going to get up for their games against us,' Slover said.
The Lakeridge girls had an up and down week as they fell 2-1 and endured some bumps and bruises against Clackamas but the team rallied for a decisive 5-0 win over Milwaukie on Tuesday.
Against the Cavaliers, Victoria Lee scored the Pacers' lone goal but injuries to Ally Knecht and Danielle Levine hampered the team's performance slightly.
Clackamas plays on a large grass field that has been torn up by the football team. That, combined with the fact that is was a fairly physical contest, made the conditions precarious for both teams.
'They're a good and aggressive team and playing on that field makes a huge difference. We're definitely looking forward to playing them again at our place,' Pacer coach Pete Siddons said.
Even with the injuries, Lakeridge didn't miss a beat against Milwaukie on Tuesday.
The Pacers took a 2-0 lead to the half and never let the Mustangs back in the game. Milwaukie rarely got off a good scoring chance and everyone seemed to pick each other up after a tough loss.
'That's the way this team is. It was just a great effort and everyone contributed,' Siddons said.
Sophomore Jenna Horton notched a hat trick for the Pacers and Heidi Klein and McKenzie Ingram notched a goal apiece to put away the Mustangs.
While Lakeridge has struggled with injuries, a variety of players have risen to the challenge and the Pacers haven't missed a beat.
Lakeridge is currently in third place in the Three Rivers League but the team is just two points out of first place at the midway point in the league season.
With Lake Oswego's 1-0 loss to Clackamas on Tuesday, the top of the Three Rivers League is extremely crowded, which should make for an exciting finish down the stretch.
Lakeridge's next game is at home on Thursday against West Linn, a team that is currently tied for first.
'We've been getting better with every game. This is a great team to be a part of,' Siddons said.