After a very brief hiatus the Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team is back where it feels most comfortable… in the state championship game.
The team won state titles in 2005 and 2006 and for the majority of this season, coach Lauren Anderson has stated that she believes her 2008 squad could be at least as good as those teams.
The Lakers moved a step closer to proving her right with a dramatic, well-played 7-6 victory over Sunset on Tuesday.
Now Lake Oswego will play for the state title tonight (Thursday) against undefeated St. Mary's at Tualatin Hills Recreation Center. The game begins at 8 p.m.
Against Sunset, Lake Oswego found a very evenly matched opponent. But, as the Laker teams of the past have often done, they stepped up in big moments to earn the narrow victory.
Amy Schlesinger came up big for her team, notching a hat trick. She scored on three of her five shot attempts.
Sierra Ainge scored twice for the Lakers and MacKenzie Place and Annika Sohlstrom each scored a goal apiece.
Evan Goldsmith was stellar in front of the net for Lake Oswego, making 10 saves on the night. Lake Oswego out-shot the Apollos 26-16 in the game.
That win came after a 22-11 throttling of Lincoln in the quarterfinals. In the contest, everything seemed to come together for the Lakers on offense. Ainge and Flannery Underwood also had three assists apiece.
Schlesinger, Sohlstrom and Ainge all had four goals for Lake Oswego and Emily Fuller also notched a hat trick. The Lakers had 38 shots in the fast-paced contest to put the Cardinals away.
Now Lake Oswego takes on St. Mary's, a perennial powerhouse that is 18-0 this season and has rarely been tested. St. Mary's played in last year's state title game and should prove to be the Lakers biggest test to date.
St. Mary's actually received one of its best games of the year from Lakeridge in the quarterfinals.
The Pacers were on their game and put forth one of their best efforts of the season in a 10-7 loss.
Lakeridge played the Blues evenly for the majority of the game but St. Mary's experience eventually won out.
Like many teams this year, the Blues keyed on the Pacers' Lindsay Wagner, holding her to just one goal but Wagner responded by setting up her teammates and tallied three assists.
Allie DeBruhl had three goals and an assist, Ally Will scored twice and Sarah Seals added a goal to lead the Lakeridge attack.
In goal, Julianna Lopardo was solid, making 11 saves and stopping over half of the Blues shot attempts.
St. Mary's then bested Oregon City in the semifinals 14-10 in a rematch of last year's state title game.
Both of Lake Oswego's state titles were won in games decided in overtime and this year's championship game promises to be as equally thrilling.