Strong start not enough for Lady Lions

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Sam Dewart tried to come up with a loose ball in the second half of West Linn’s 10-6 loss to Lake Oswego on Monday. The Lions took an early lead but only scored one goal in the second half as the Lakers rallied.

The West Linn girls lacrosse team dominated about a third of Monday's showdown with Lake Oswego. In that time, the Lions jumped out to a 5-1 lead and dominated possession in the contest.

Unfortunately, Lake Oswego proceeded to dominate the remainder of the game, using heavy pressure to stymie West Linn's transition game as the Lakers pulled out the 10-6 win.

'The girls weren't down as much as they were upset with themselves because they knew that it was just mistakes that cost them the game,' Bunch said.

Everything was going the Lions' way to start the game. The team jumped out to a quick 2-1 lead and then played its best lacrosse of the night, rattling off three quick goals to seemingly seize control of the game.

But Lake Oswego, a team generally considered to be among the best in the state, wasn't fazed. The Lakers regrouped and started winning the majority of ground balls. They also stopped West Linn's long runs up the field and forced dangerous passes which led to turnovers.

'Lake Oswego's always a good team and they capitalized on those mistakes,' Bunch said.

Lake Oswego turned those opportunities into three quick goals and then, with under two minutes to play, West Linn called time-out to try and regroup and hold onto momentum heading into halftime.

However, the Lakers won the ensuing face-off and scored another goal to tie the score at the break.

Sam Dewart had three first-half goals and an assist for the Lions while Erika Busch and Jenna Hoogestraat added one goal apiece.

Then, just 13 seconds into the second half Lake Oswego won another face-off and quickly went down the field for a goal to take the lead.

West Linn responded a few minutes later as Dewart notched her fourth goal of the night to tie the game at 6-6.

Both defenses then proceeded to buckle down as neither team could grab hold of momentum. But Lake Oswego scored the next goal and continued to force turnovers when West Linn would try and bring the ball up from its defense.

'I was happy with our defense in the second half. What hurt is we'd get a stop and then we'd drop a ground ball or make a bad pass,' Bunch said.

The Lions' goalie, Emily Ostbo, had a phenomenal game to keep West Linn in it. She tallied a remarkable 21 saves, routinely turning away shots from point blank range.

'Emily was amazing. She kept the game close,' Bunch said.

But the Lions couldn't come up with enough scoring opportunities to get back in the game and gave up goals late as the Lakers held on for the win.

Still, Bunch believes there is plenty that his team can take away from a game like this.

'We came out and had a great practice and we've watched the tape. I think you'll see us play like we did in the first half for the rest of the season,' Bunch said.

And the Lions will have to regroup quickly. West Linn is entering its toughest stretch of the season with back-to-back games against Oregon City and a rematch with Lake Oswego in the near future.

'It's going to be tough but we expect to win all of those games,' Bunch said.

The Lions took on another strong team in Lakeridge on Wednesday but results weren't available at press time. West Linn will also close its regular season against the Pacers.