Pacer boys emerge in physical game
In a physical and emotional showdown, the Lakeridge boys soccer team officially announced that its grip atop the Three Rivers League might still be a bit tighter than many people thought.
The Pacers came out on the winning end of a back and forth 3-2 decision against Lake Oswego on Tuesday in a highly entertaining battle.
It was difficult to anticipate what was to come after watching the opening 20 minutes of play. Both teams started off somewhat tentatively as they tried to adjust to the other's style of play.
'We didn't know what to expect from them so we just wanted to go out and play and then were prepared to make changes,' Lakeridge coach Paul Slover said.
Lakeridge had the better of the early scoring chances as Jared Martin drilled an early shot right at Lake Oswego goalie Tom Olen and, moments later, Nick Wilkins had a terrific opportunity that Olen saved as well.
But Lake Oswego countered and, with 12:16 to play in the first half, the Lakers earned a corner kick.
Troy Hall put the ball into play and Ryo Asai knocked it into the net for the game's first score.
'We went 1-0 up against the run of play and had the better of the opening chances and then we let them back in it,' Lake Oswego coach Fraser Morrison said.
The Pacers weren't down for long however. Just two minutes later, Wilkins received another ball deep in Lake Oswego territory and he was tripped up just as we was about to strike a shot, leading to a penalty kick.
Bennett Savage took the kick and scored it easily to tie the game. Each team had a pair of chances late in the half.
Lakeridge's Ben Handy just missed on a header off of a terrific throw-in by Benton Souers and Hall had a shot sail just wide of the net in the closing seconds of the half.
Both teams started the second half with renewed intensity. The Lakers' Jan Oldekop had an early shot that missed wide while Jared Martin had a pair of shots that narrowly missed.
Seven minutes into the half, the tie was broken, Martin made a pass to Bruno Perez who was able to control the ball under heavy pressure and send a difficult shot into the corner of the net.
Lakeridge peppered the Lake Oswego goal in the second half, getting off 17 shots, eight of which were on goal.
'I think Lakeridge was up for it more than we were. We were second best for most of the evening,' Morrison said.
But Lake Oswego still had possession for nearly as long as the Pacers.
Jackson Ray came close to tying the game again on a long shot that Pacer goalie Jason Dodson was just able to knock over the net.
Just over 10 minutes into the half, Lakeridge struck again.
This time Souers took a shot from outside the goal box which knuckled and eventually bounced into the net.
As the second half went on, the physicality of the game intensified and, in the end, a half dozen yellow cards were issued.
'Adversity is always good early. Some of the stuff was pretty questionable. There were some strange calls against both teams,' Slover said.
Lakeridge continued to attack but the Lakers found plenty of opportunities to get back in the game.
Just five minutes after Souers' goal, a ball was sent into the Pacers' goal box and a hand ball was called, giving the Lakers a penalty kick of their own.
Ray took the shot and scored it with little difficulty, cutting the lead to one.
Lake Oswego nearly tied the game when Dodson was drawn away from the goal and the ball was cleared away at the last second.
And, with under a minute to play in the game, Hall had another strong shot that Dodson deflected out of harm's way to seal the win.
'The kids did what they needed to do against a very good opponent. To me that was like a playoff atmosphere and I think that bodes well for both of us in league,' Slover said.
The Lakeridge victory moved the team to 2-0 in league after topping West Linn 4-0 last week while the Lakers fall to 2-1.
Last Thursday, Lake Oswego picked up a huge win 3-2 over Clackamas. In that game, all the scoring was done in the first half.
Brian Greenberg had a pair of goals and, with just seconds to play in the first half, Asai knocked in a shot off of a corner kick by hall that proved to be the difference.
1 2 Final
Lake Oswego 1 1 2
Lakeridge 1 2 3
LO: Ryo Asai from Troy Hall. 12:16 1st.
LR: Bennett Savage penalty kick. 10:11 1st.
LR: Bruno Perez from Jared Martin. 32:47 2nd.
LR: Benton Souers. 27:40 2nd.
LO: Jackson Ray penalty kick. 22:55 2nd.