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Pacer boys remain undefeated with pair of shutouts

Sometimes it takes a while for the Lakeridge soccer team to get rolling, but when things start clicking, especially on offense, the Pacers are nearly impossible to stop.

In their two most recent games, Lakeridge rattled off eight second-half goals after playing a pair of scoreless first stanzas. The result was two 4-0 wins over Lake Oswego and Clackamas, which clinched the league title and kept the Pacers (11-0, 13-0) unbeaten this year.

'They reached their first goal, which was (the league title) so that was a good start,' Pacer coach Paul Slover said.

Against the Lakers last Wednesday, Slover started his seniors, who all played well but the team struggled to find much of a rhythm on offense.

Lake Oswego had the better chances early on as a header off of a corner kick was knocked just wide.

Lakeridge's Facundo Dipascuale had a pair of good chances in the first half, including a one on none opportunity that Laker goalie Alex Watson saved neatly.

Watson was on his game for Lake Oswego, turning away a number of shots from close range to keep Lakeridge off the board.

'I thought we worked hard but it's always difficult against Lakeridge. You can play your A-game and lose against a good team like this,' Laker coach Fraser Morrison said.

For the Pacers, Johnathan Warner had a nice shot from near the top of the goal box that was saved and defender Carson Van Valkenburg fired a shot from beyond 30 yards in the final minute of the opening half that sailed just over the top of the net.

At the break, Slover went back to a more traditional line-up and it quickly paid dividends for the Pacers.

Eight minutes into the half, Eric Destefano found an opening between two defenders and hit a fantastic left-footed shot into the corner of the net for the game's first goal.

That score set in motion a dominating 20 minutes of soccer by the Pacers. After Dipascuale was thwarted again by Watson, a poor clear by Lake Oswego gave Max Schlesinger an open shot and he knocked it off the post and into the net.

'We kind of had a spell there where we became a bit disorganized and that cost us and dictated the rest of the game,' Morrison said.

Schlesinger scored just one minute later on a terrific feed from Destefano to put the game out for reach.

'The guys can definitely be pretty explosive at times,' Slover said.

As the Lakers tried to rally, Conor McWade had a few opportunities but, for the most part, the Pacers succeeded in controlling the ball, keeping it away from Lake Oswego.

Finally, with 15 minutes to play in the game, Corey Rosenfeld made a pretty run down the left side of the field and finished the play with a hard shot into the corner of the net.

With the win, the Pacers clinched the top seed in the Three Rivers League and, after a first-round bye in the playoffs, will likely face the second seed from the Metro League at home on Nov. 7.

'The goal for our last games is to get the guys into a rhythm and we'll try some different types of game scenarios, like pretending we're a goal down or protecting a one-goal lead,' Slover said.

Lake Oswego was knocked out of playoff contention on Tuesday despite a 6-0 victory over Oregon City. The Lakers also needed help from West Linn, but the Lions lost 7-1 to Milwaukie on Tuesday.

'I think the team has been improving and that's definitely something to build on for next year,' Morrison said.