Pacer girls win key TRL contest

by: Vern Uyetake, Lakeridge’s Heide Klein, far right, celebrates her goal in last Thursday’s game against West Linn. Sharing the moment with Klein were Jenna Horton, foreground, and Riley Costello. Klein’s goal gave Lakeridge a 1-0 lead and the Pacers eventually claimed a 3-1 victory. Lakeridge added a win over Putnam on Monday, which gave Lakeridge’s a one-point lead over Lake Oswego atop the league standings.

Lakeridge coach Pete Siddons is always quick to point out how balanced his team is this season and how, every game, a different player will step up. Last Thursday, in a huge game against West Linn, it was goalie Amanda Griffin's turn.

Griffin endured 17 shots from the Lions, including seven on goal, and only gave up a second-half penalty kick in the Pacers' 3-1 victory.

'Amanda just had an incredible game in the goal. She came up with some really big grabs,' Siddons said.

Lakeridge emerged victorious in what was an entertaining contest between two athletic teams. West Linn actually got off more shots in the back and forth game but the Lions had fewer shots on goal. On this night, the Pacers were simply better at finishing their chances.

Lakeridge was in control for much of the first half and capitalized early. Eight minutes into the game, Heidi Klein received the ball deep in West Linn's territory and knocked in an uncontested shot.

The Lions responded with a number of chances but the Pacers' defense didn't allow West Linn's talented forwards many clean looks at the goal.

West Linn's Liz Sloop couldn't quite get a foot on a cross that rolled dangerously in front of Lakeridge's open net and Jazmine Whitlock hit a volley over the top of the net.

Lakeridge then controlled possession until the final minutes of the first half as Klein and Riley Costello each had shots that were off target.

West Linn nearly knotted the score in the closing minutes of the opening half as Taylor Brooke fired two shots over the top of the goal and made a nice cross that India Hubbard couldn't quite catch up to.

The Pacers regained the momentum early in the second half. Victoria Lee controlled the midfield for Lakeridge, making a pair of steals and firing two hard shots that missed wide.

'We knew this would be three big points for us. All you can do is just go one game at a time,' Siddons said.

Six minutes into the half, a defensive letdown allowed Jenna Horton to get off an open shot from point-blank range that she took advantage of, giving her team a 2-0 lead.

But just minutes later, the Lions responded. After a pair of close shots were turned away by Griffin, the Lions were awarded a penalty kick on a trip and Ali Vogt knocked the shot in.

The final 30 minutes were frenetic with both teams making dangerous runs. The Lions nearly tied the game again on a header that hit the crossbar and bounced straight down, inches from the goal line.

Lee had another shot on goal for Lakeridge but West Linn dominated the contest for the next 10 minutes. Vogt knocked a hard shot over the net and had an opportunity off a corner kick before Lakeridge sealed the victory.

After regaining possession, Lee volleyed a ball in the air from 18 yards away into the top left corner of the net for one of the team's prettiest goals of the season.

'That was a great shot. It was a good, solid goal,' Siddons said.

With just over a minute to go in the game, the Lions knocked in a shot from the top of the box but it was called off because a penalty had been called on Lakeridge just before the shot.

Brooke had West Linn's final chance of the night but it was tipped over the top of the goal by Griffin to preserve the two-goal victory.

Lakeridge rode the momentum from that victory to a 3-0 win over Putnam on Monday.