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WL girls settle for draw after Pacers rally

by: Matt Sherman Paige Myers wins a header against Lakeridge’s Lauren King in a 2-2 tie with the Pacers on Tuesday.

On paper, a tie with a strong Lakeridge team to kick off league is a very positive result. But the West Linn girls soccer team felt like a win was stolen from them on their home field on Tuesday.

The Lions controlled much of the game, coming up with the majority of the best scoring opportunities in the contest through 70 minutes.

And when West Linn notched a goal with 11:22 to play in the game to go up 2-0, it seemed like a win was almost a foregone conclusion.

But Lakeridge rallied, getting its first goal less than a minute later which sparked the Pacers to score once more five minutes later, earning a draw.

"We played 70 minute instead of 80. I thought we played hard and were physical but we didn't play the whole game," coach Holly Baird said.

It was a frenetic final 10 minutes but, prior to that, the Lions were firmly in control.

West Linn grabbed the momentum in the game practically from the opening whistle and came up with a handful of scoring chances in the first few minutes.

Forward Madison Leek had her way with the Lakeridge defense early on in the first half and her speed was on full display.

Nicole Campbell also had a strong all-around game and helped set up a few of the Lions' early chances.

Leek had two shots from close range that were deflected by Lakeridge defenders and then had another shot that hit hard off of the crossbar.

But, 14 minutes into the game, West Linn broke through. Again it was Leek who got behind the Pacers' defense and hit a shot that Lakeridge's goalie didn't get enough off to prevent it from crossing the end line.

The rest of the first half was evenly matched. Lakeridge's best chance came when it pulled West Linn goalie Gabby Estey away from the net but Paige Myers made a terrific play to prevent an open net goal.

Lakeridge started the second half with energy and earned numerous corner kicks in the opening minutes.

Estey did a great job turning away those crosses and also made a save from point blank range on a shot by Lakeridge's Katey Jacobsen.

The Pacers had the better of the possession early in the second half but West Linn's defense did well to not allow many solid scoring opportunities.

Lakeridge's defense also did a better job at denying Leek the ball early in the second half.

But the Lions would break through again with 11:22 to play in the game.

Myers played a ball up to Leek who then passed the ball into the goal box to Campbell.

Campbell's first shot was saved but she stayed with the rebound and scored to give West Linn a two-goal advantage.

"Our forwards have done a nice job. We are definitely capable of finishing our opportunities," Baird said.

However, the Pacers were extremely quick to respond.

Less than a minute later, Estey and Lakeridge's Erin Elliott went for a cross into the box and Elliott got enough of it to knock it behind Estey and into the net.

The goal gave Lakeridge new life and the Pacers were fired up for the final 10 minutes.

With 5:30 remaining Estey made a play on another dangerous ball, coming away from the net to clear a ball near the top of the box.

She knocked it away but the ball went right to Elliott who chipped it into the open net for the tying score.

"We made a couple mistakes and (Lakeridge) did a nice job capitalizing on those errors," Baird said.

The Lions came away from the game with a point against what figures to be a very strong team and the knowledge that it had the better of the play for the majority of the contest.

"I'd rather have a game like this at the beginning of the season than at the end. We know we have some things to work on," Baird said.

The team will look to get into the win column in league on Thursday against Canby.