Pioneers eye a girls lacrosse 3-peat

Ranked No. 1 in the state in high school girls lacrosse all season, the two-time defending state champion Oregon City Pioneers continued on track for a 3-peat, dominating two playoffs opponents in state playoff games last week.

The Pioneers handled eighth-ranked Century 19-9 in last Thursday's quarterfinals, after bouncing Southridge 20-6 in their May 17 state playoff opener.

It was only the fourth loss of the season for Century (16-4), which entered Thursday's quarterfinal riding a nine-game win string.

The Pioneers were to meet second-ranked Wilson in the May 23 semifinals. With a win in that game, they'd advance to this Thursday's state title game, most likely with third-ranked Lake Oswego.

With last week's wins, the Pioneers upped their season record to 20-0. Wilson was 18-1 entering play this week, while Lake Oswego was 16-3.

The three team's only close games this season have been with one another.

Oregon City dealt Wilson its only loss in a 10-9 barnburner on April 7. Wilson dropped Lake Oswego 12-8 on March 15.

Oregon City had to go to overtime to top Lake Oswego 14-11 on April 14, and the Pioneers edged the Lakers 11-9 on May 10.

Asked to comment on her Pioneers' prospects of defending their title, Oregon City coach Dara Kramer said: 'If we win [against Wilson] and we face Lake Oswego [in the title game], I think we have an edge on them - after two close wins over them in the regular season.

'But it will come down to our mental game. If we come out with confidence and play our best lacrosse, I don't think they can take the title away from us. If we hesitate or doubt ourselves, they will take advantage of any shred of uncertainty.'

The state title game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex at Hillsboro Stadium.

Senior leadership and strong team play proved the difference in last week's state playoff games, just as they have all season.

Senior captains Tessa Keuler, Shelly Bohrer, Holly Cisneros accounted for 22 of the Pioneers' 39 goals in the two games, and 10 players scored goals or made assists.

'Not only do our senior captains have the stats offensively and defensively,' said Kramer. 'But they also possess a mental toughness beyond their years. When our team is under pressure to perform, they take it to the next level....

'Our captains' level of play and positive leadership is a huge reason why we're undefeated.'

Kramer also had praise for sophomore Alyssa Albrich: 'Alyssa had an outstanding game against Century, scoring four goals. She was making quick cuts in front of the goal on our fast breaks. Her timing was perfect.'

Albrich, Bohrer (2 assists) and Cisneros had four goals apiece in the Century game. Keuler sparked the offense with three goals and five assists.

Tia Baxter scored two goals; Natalie Clegg and Danielle Kirby added single tallies.

Keuler had five goals and an assist in the rout of Southridge. Bohrer (2 assists), Cisneros and Baxter had three goals each.

Clegg scored twice. Albrich, Kirby, Taylor Morgan and Mallery Wellschlager rounded out the scoring with single goals.

Senior keeper Kaylee Kolin made seven saves in the Century game and five saves (on 11 shots) against Southridge.

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