West Linn ends its losing streak with an impressive 3-2 victory over Clackamas

by: VERN UYETAKE - West Linn's Bryce Madden makes a move to avoid a Lakeridge defender during last week's game against the Pacers. West Linn fell to Lakeridge 4-3 but Madden had a goal in the Lions' win over Clackamas on Tuesday. The West Linn boys soccer team not only picked up its first league victory on Tuesday, it did it against the first-place Clackamas Cavaliers who were previously unbeaten in TRL play.

The Lions have still yet to play a league game that wasn't decided by a single goal but, this time, it was finally their turn to come out on top.

“We still made some silly mistakes, but they made more. I didn't feel like we played any better or worse than we had been, we just had the luck with us finally,” coach Greg Bean said.

Clackamas the lead midway through the first half, capitalizing on a miscue in the box.

But the Lions would rally just 10 minutes later on a nice goal by Bryce Madden.

West Linn would put the pressure on the Cavs again late in the first half. Forward Jackson Brooke gave Clackamas problems all evening and, with less than 10 minutes to play in the opening half, he was taken down in the goal box, earning the Lions a penalty kick.

Taylor Hefty took the kick and scored it easily, giving West Linn the lead.

After a slow start to the season, Bean tinkered with the Lions' line-up, most notably moving Hefty from the defense up to midfield.

“That's really made all the difference in the world. When you're in so many one-goal games, it means you're close enough to win but you have to make adjustments to get over the hump. I'm a defensive-minded coach but this groups is laid out for a more aggressive formation and the kids are buying into it,” Bean said.

Clackamas would even the score again early in the second half but the Lions had another response, getting a goal from Jake Bray to regain the lead.

The offense has picked up dramatically in recent games with the Lions scoring six goals combined against Clackamas and Lakeridge, two of the league's top teams.

“Now it's about getting our four backs more comfortable and making fewer mistakes,” Bean said.

The defense held firm for the final 20 minutes of the game, preserving a huge victory for West Linn.

The Lions also got a nice showing from JV goalie Nick Bardana, who was called up to fill in for the injured Zach Nelson.

West Linn did what it failed to do last week against Lakeridge, which was to preserve a late lead.

In that game, West Linn led 3-2 with 10 minutes to play in the game but gave up a pair of late goals.

“I should have managed that game differently. We haven't had many opportunities to work on closing out games but the kids know that's a game we should have won,” Bean said.

West Linn sits at 1-4 through the first half of league play but things remain wide open in the standings.

“It's going to be wild. There's no real obvious top of our league and we know we can compete with anyone,” Bean said.

West Linn's next game is against Oregon City tonight (Thursday).

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