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Pacers streak ends against LO

In a back and forth game, LO comes away with a 10-8 win
by: Vern Uyetake, Lakeridge’s Andrew Clayton is swarmed by Lake Oswego defenders. Clayton led the Pacers with three goals but had to work hard for each of them as Lakeridge fell 10-8.

By MATTHEW SHERMAN

Sports Editor

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more emotionally charged early season lacrosse game. Even though this was just the first game in a handful of important league contests, this one meant a lot to both Lakeridge and Lake Oswego.

The Lakers entered the season hoping to prove that they were one of the state's best teams. They also entered the game as slight favorites for the first time in years.

Both teams were burdened with added pressure. Lake Oswego wanted to establish itself as the frontrunner in the league while Lakeridge still had the weight of its 62-game in-state winning streak.

Needless to say, there were some obvious nerves on display in the early going last Friday.

Both teams started off by making some uncharacteristic mistakes with poor passes or miscues on ground balls.

However, the Pacers, perhaps relishing an underdog role, seemed to come out with more fire.

'We were definitely fired up. I think we felt like a bit of an underdog. On paper they looked like the better team,' Lakeridge coach Curt Sheinin said.

The defenses of both teams were on display in the opening quarter.

Lakeridge got on the board first with a goal from Andrew Clayton but scoring chances were few and far between in the opening stanza.

While the Pacers had the better of the first quarter, that goal would be the period's only tally.

Neither team scored for the first three minutes of the second quarter either until Clayton got off a contested shot that trickled into the net, giving Lakeridge a surprising 2-0 advantage early.

Lake Oswego had a pair of shots from close range that sailed just wide but the Lakers finally got on the board when Bobby Crowder got past a fallen defender and buried a shot in the back of the net.

Lakeridge responded less than a minute later with a goal from long distance by Conor Ryan.

However, once Lake Oswego scored its first goal, it seemed to energize the team. The Lakers kept Lakeridge off the board for the rest of the half and Chase Bisset got his team's second goal with a shot from a tough angle.

Minutes later, Chase Clausen knotted the game at 3-3 with a goal and, with 40 seconds to play in the half, Blake Heim made a great move through a pair of defenders and scored on a tough shot, giving the Lakers their first lead of the game.

Lake Oswego would take the lead and the momentum into the half.

'To weather that storm and take a lead at the half was huge,' Laker coach Peter Lamb said. After the break, the Lakers looked more confident and got on the board quickly again with a goal from Charlie Wagner.

But Lakeridge stepped up its defense once more. Neither team could score for the next seven minutes of play until Lakeridge's Drew Dutton broke the drought.

One minute later, Wagner scored his second goal of the quarter for Lake Oswego and the Pacers were quick to answer with another pretty goal from Dutton. That made the score 6-5 Lake Oswego with one quarter to play.

'I think, for the first time, we were able to play how we wanted to and didn't let Lakeridge dictate the pace,' Lamb said.

Momentum went back and forth early in the final period. Lakeridge tied the game two and a half minutes into the quarter on Clayton's third goal of the night.

But Lake Oswego responded 30 seconds later with a strike by Bissett. Lakeridge knotted the score again with just over six minutes to play on a shot from Dylan Moncrieff, setting up a terrific final few minutes.

Lake Oswego got the lead for good with five minutes to play. On a loose ball in front of the goal, Brian Greenberg was able to sweep it into the net.

The Lakers buckled down on defense, not wanting the Pacers to regain confidence. With three and a half minutes to play, Wagner scored his third goal of the night on a terrific shot, giving Lake Oswego some breathing room.

'We didn't want to play to kill five or six minutes of clock because when you play prevent defense it prevents you from winning,' Lamb said.

Lake Oswego would put the game away with a minute to play when Sean Silverstein beat his defender and scored, setting off an enthusiastic celebration on the sideline.

'We hadn't beaten Lakeridge since I've been here and for these seniors to be able to do it was something special. It's huge for the program as a whole,' Lamb said.

Lakeridge would score once more with nine seconds to play but, as the clock ticked down, Lake Oswego stormed the field. It marked the end of an extremely impressive streak for the Pacers but, after the game, Sheinin was happy with his team's response.

'They were down for a minute but they recovered quickly. The captains got together and said it's time to start a new streak and I couldn't have said it better myself,' Sheinin said.

While the win gives the Lakers a leg up in the league, Lamb knows there are still two games against West Linn on the schedule as well as the Lakeridge rematch on May 7.

'It's definitely a momentum builder but if we go and lose twice to West Linn we might have trashed everything we did this week,' Lamb said.

Lakeridge didn't take long to get back in the win column. On Tuesday the Pacers throttled Clackamas 15-1.