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Boys soccer pounds Pioneers

Earlier in the season, West Linn's first-year boys soccer coach Greg Bean stated that he knew his team would turn the corner either this year or the next.

And after last week, it appears that the Lions are close to making that leap. After playing competitively against an extraordinarily talented Lakeridge team in a 3-1 loss, the Lions picked up their second league victory of the season 8-1 over Oregon City.

It was the second time this year that West Linn has topped the struggling Pioneers but Bean was far more pleased with how his team played and communicated this time around.

'It was so much better. Before, we won ugly and there was no real game plan. It was good to see (the team) stay focused this time around,' Bean said.

The Lions' victory was a complete team effort with seven players scoring goals. West Linn built a 3-0 lead at the half and Bean got to play his entire roster.

Goals were tallied by Gilbert Adzasu, Miles Source, Ryan Connelly, Chris Thompson, Drew Tucker, Ryan Kurtin and Abdelkaddar Elhabbassi as a number of players who normally contribute on defense were moved forward.

'All of our goals came in the flow of our offense. When you know you're supposed to beat a team the trick is to do it the right way,' Bean said.

It was a solid victory for the Lions but Bean said that he won't truly know if the team has turned the corner until its next game against Clackamas (played Wednesday night but results were not available at press time.)

'This game will only be important for us if we can build on it,' Bean said.

Last Thursday against undefeated Lakeridge, West Linn turned in another solid effort. Despite falling behind 3-0, including an own-goal, the Lions continued to battle and scored midway through the second half.

On a free kick, Colin Weeks connected on a diving header into the corner of the net to put his team on the board.

In recent games, West Linn's defense has been improving by leaps and bounds. In fact, in its past three contests against three of the best offenses in the league, the Lions have only given up one goal that occurred during the flow of play.

Every other goal has come off of a set play on either a free kick or corner kick.

Although it is a frustrating thing to watch from the sidelines, that fact is also encouraging.

'We've made a few mistakes but the defense is continuing down the right path,' Bean said.

The Lions have yet to be eliminated from playoff contention but Bean and his players are not focusing on that. Instead West Linn is simply looking to improve with each game to gradually build momentum for the season's stretch run.

'Earlier in the season we wanted to get our boys all playing on the same page and communicating with each other and we're so close to that right now,' Bean said.