by: VERN UYETAKE West Linn midfielder Carley Turner battles for a loose ball in the Lions’ 4-1 victory over Lake Oswego on Tuesday.

The West Linn girls soccer team picked up its first league win of the season on Tuesday, knocking off Lake Oswego 4-1 in a game that the team hopes will give it a lift heading into Thursday's showdown with Clackamas.

The Lions have had some tough luck in their first two league games. After giving up a pair of late goals in a tie with Lakeridge, the team dropped a 2-1 contest against Canby last week.

In that game, the Cougars were awarded a pair of penalty kicks in the first half that they scored on giving them an early 2-0 lead.

Late in the half the Lions got back in the game on a nice goal by freshman Sophie Gabler.

West Linn then controlled most of the second half, keeping the ball on Canby's side of the field but couldn't come up with the equalizer.

On Tuesday, the Lions took control of the game early.

Three minutes into the game, Nicole Campbell put West Linn on the board and the Lions dominated much of the opening 40 minutes of play.

Midway through the half West Linn upped its advantage. Madison Leek received the ball on the right sideline and made her way through three defenders toward the baseline.

She then got off a shot at an extremely difficult angle which she buried, putting West Linn up 2-0.

"I'm not sure if I've seen a prettier goal in a high school game," coach Holly Baird said.

But Lake Oswego made it a game again with just a minute left in the half. The Lakers intercepted a pass deep in West Linn's territory and scored, forcing the Lions to regroup quickly.

"The girls had to figure out what they wanted to do in the second half for themselves. They're a very capable team that's still finding its rhythm and we left it up to them," Baird said.

West Linn responded, scoring twice more to all but put the game away.

While the Lions still had the advantage in time of possession, Lake Oswego came up with a handful of scoring chances which could have turned the tide again.

The Lakers hit the crossbar and also forced goalie Gabby Estey to make a spectacular save on a well-struck ball from close range.

"Gabby bailed us out a few times. We let up a little bit late in the game but (Lake Oswego) didn't capitalize," Baird said.

It was an important three points for West Linn to pick up in a league that still appears to be up in the air.

The Lions will take on Clackamas tonight (Thursday). The Cavaliers are currently in first place with a 3-0 record in league.

"Clackamas is always one of the toughest games of the year and the girls are looking forward to it," Baird said.

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