Oregon City girls bow out with their heads held high
Injury and illness increased the challenge in postseason
It wasn't for lack of effort, but the injury-plagued Oregon City Pioneers found themselves no match for top-ranked and undefeated Lake Oswego in last week's semifinals of the Oregon high school girls lacrosse playoffs.
The Pioneers lost the game, played at Hillsboro Stadium, 22-9, as the defending state champion Lakers improved to 18-0 on the season.
'Making it to the final four, under our injury/illness conditions, is comparable to winning the state championship as underdogs in 2010,' said Oregon City coach Dara Kramer. 'The onslaught of injuries and sickness was something I've never seen in my 11 years of coaching, and it made the final four appearance seem out of reach.
'When our support/bench players came together for a win over OES in the quarterfinals, my pride in my team was as high as it has ever been.'
Commenting on the semifinal, Kramer said, 'We went in saying, 'If we can finish this game feeling satisfied that we gave it everything we had, we would feel good.' You know what, I feel good.
'We had little 5-1 freshman, Monica Curtis, picked by an attacker, switching her to defend towering DI-bound Paige Timberg, and she didn't show one ounce of fear. The girls went out and played the sport they love with everything they had. What else could a coach possibly ask for?'
The Pioneers played the semifinal without starting senior attack Alyssa Albrich (concussion), starting junior defender Savannah Ross (stress fractures) and starting junior midfield/attack Mallery Wellschlager (concussion).
'In addition, Sara Thompson, Natalie Clegg, Taylor Bass and Cassie Downing were all playing with serious strep throat and/or deep chest cold complications,' Kramer said.
turns a hat trick
Junior midfielder McKenzie Rollins scored three goals to lead seven Oregon City players who contributed goals or assists to Oregon City's scoring. Junior midfielder Kennedy Kullmann scored twice and senior center Sara Thompson had two assists. Oregon City keeper Annaliese Hernandez had four saves on 14 shots; Sitera Allison had eight saves on 20 shots.
Timberg (5 goals, 2 assists), Lexi Cheetham (4 goals, one assist), Lilly Newman (4 goals, 3 assists) and Madeline Reece (4 goals, one assist) headed the offensive onslaught for Lake Oswego, which went on to defeat West Linn 15-13 in Thursday's championship final.
Lake Oswego keeper Julianna Ramey made seven saves on 16 shots in the Oregon City game.
It's the sixth consecutive year that Oregon City has advanced at least as far as the semifinals. The Pioneers were state champions in 2009 and 2010 and state finalists in 2007 and 2011.
Starting for the Pioneers in last week's semifinal were: seniors Natalie Clegg (attack) and Sara Thompson (center); juniors Kennedy Kullmann (midfield), April Lanz (midfield), Danielle Kirby (midfield/defense), McKenzie Rollins (midfield), Emily Krupa (defense) and Annaliese Hernandez (goalie); sophomores Taylor Bass (attack), Toni Graham (attack) and Cassie Downing (midfield); and freshman Monica Curtis (defense).
Kullmann, Bass, Graham, Downing and Hernandez were all new to varsity-level play this year.
Albrich, Clegg, Thompson and Kirby were first-team Three Rivers League all-star selections. Lanz and Krupa were named to the second team.
Commenting on next year, Kramer said: 'We graduate three seniors. They were all big contributors. But we have a bright future in our returners, jayvee and current eighth grade standouts.
'West Linn will probably be the top competition, with no players lost to graduation. Lake Oswego will still be very strong, but they are graduating their No. 1 attacker and No. 1 defender. It will be hard for them to replace Paige Timberg.'