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No miracle this time for Lady Lakers in state title match

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Lake Oswego’s Annika Sohlstrom makes a move in last week’s state championship lacrosse game. Sohlstrom had four goals to lead her team but the Lakers were upended by St. Mary’s.

There wouldn't be a miracle comeback this time around. No double or triple overtime. But given Lake Oswego's history in state championship games, you know that everyone in attendance was waiting for that push.

On this night, St. Mary's was just too strong to allow it to happen and won its second straight state title 16-10.

The Lakers played even with undefeated St. Mary's for three-fourths of the game but the end of the first half was won handily by the Blues and the proved to be the difference.

With just over 13 minutes to play in the opening half, Lake Oswego led 4-3. the team used sharp passing on offense which led to high-percentage shots and the early advantage. Annika Sohlstrom had two of her team's first four goals.

'Our attack looked really good. We had that part of our game down,' Sholstrom said.

But, as many opponents have found out this year, when the Blue's high-powered offense gets clicking, it can be difficult to stop.

St. Mary's tied the game with 13 minutes to play in the half and that sparked a flurry. St. Mary's scored six consecutive goals to seize control of the contest. Former Lakeridge player Catherine Davidson proved difficult to stop all game but particularly in the first half.

She scored the team's first three goals and ended the half with six, including one with under a minute to play.

Lake Oswego's defense struggled to adjust. When it would double-team Davidson, often another St. Mary's player would go unmarked.

'We didn't play the type of defense we normally play. They've got some good players who stepped up when they needed to,' coach Lauren Anderson said.

The Lakers finally stopped the run late in the half on a goal by Sierra Ainge but, just 20 seconds later, St. Mary's answered.

The Blues were also helped out by an astonishing game by their goalie, Happy Lathrop. During St. Mary's scoring run, Lake Oswego had a number of chances on offense that were turned away which turned out to be increasingly frustrating for the Lakers.

Trailing 10-5 at the half, Lake Oswego knew there was still plenty of time to make a comeback. And, just 30 seconds into the half, Emily Fuller scored.

'I really thought we had some momentum going and we're known as the comeback team but we made some mistakes and our morale kept going down,' Sohlstrom said.

But, again, Lathrop came through to make sure the momentum wouldn't shift too drastically.

'Their goalie played better than I've seen her play all year and kudos to her,' Anderson said.

She made a pair of saves from point blank range and St. Mary's then scored the game's next two goals, one by Davidson and one by Sally Roberts.

Lake Oswego rallied by scoring two unanswered goals of its own. The first was on a deflected shot by Kendall Guthrie and the second was a pretty goal off a rebound from Amy Schlesinger.

Still, with only 10 minutes to play, the Lakers trailed by four goals and St. Mary's never let its hold on the game slip.

Roberts scored the Blues' next two goals to virtually seal the game for her team.

Sohlstrom scored twice for Lake Oswego in the final three minutes of play but St. Mary's also had two goals in that time, the final one came off a penalty and was netted by Davidson, which gave her eight for the game.

Still, the only glum faces after the game belonged to the seniors who had played in their final game. The Lakers will lose 10 girls off of this year's squad but it was a terrific way to end their careers.

'I'm really proud of our season. Coming this far was an accomplishment in itself,' Sohlstrom said.

Heading into the season, Lake Oswego would have probably been considered a slight underdog to make it to a state championship game. But the team battled through the most competitive league in the state, tied for the league title and only lost twice all season.