Champs again!

The Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team wins its third state title, rallying from a three-goal deficit to knock off previously undefeated Oregon City 10-8
by: VERN UYETAKE Lake Oswego goalie Carly Hall gets a hug following her team’s win over Oregon City. Hall had 16 saves in the title game and was named MVP of the playoffs.

The blueprint for the Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team winning a state championship seems pretty simple right now. Enter the title game as an underdog having lost to your opponent at least once in the regular season. If your opponent also happens to be unbeaten in the state of Oregon heading into the game that's even better. Then fall behind early to set the stage for a dramatic finish. Easy as that.

The Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team picked up its third state title in school history last week with a 10-8 victory over previously unbeaten Oregon City. The win avenged two narrow losses to the Pioneers, avenged a drubbing against Oregon City in the 2009 title game and prevented a three-peat from the Pioneers.

"I'm not going to lie. I did not think we'd be here at the beginning of the season. These kids have overachieved and they've earned it. They worked so hard this season," coach Lauren Anderson said.

The Lakers rallied from a 4-1 deficit midway through the first half and clamped down with a phenomenal effort on defense to come away with the win. Goalie Carly Hall, who would win state tournament MVP honors, picked a good time to have perhaps the best game of her high school career as well. She stopped a remarkable 16 of 24 shot attempts, saving her best for the final minutes of the game and was swarmed by her teammates when the final buzzer sounded.

Lake Oswego got the scoring started when Lexi Cheetham notched a goal just 46 seconds into the contest. But Oregon City would own the next 12 minutes of play.

The Pioneers tied the game a few minutes later and would run off four unanswered goals. Oregon City's star Holly Cisneros was dominant for much of the game. She was nearly unstoppable on draws and had two of her team's first four goals.

Oregon City had a significant advantage in time of possession in the first half and got help by some terrific play from its own goalie Kaylee Kolin.

After the Pioneers scored their fourth goal, Lake Oswego called time out to regroup. The Lakers would respond just one minute later when Dana Kilsby got the rebound from her own shot and scored.

Two minutes later Kilsby would score again to cut the lead to one.

"We're a second-half team. This has happened to us a few times this year and we just had to go out and play our own game," Kilsby said.

The Pioneers would get a goal back just one minute later but Lake Oswego's defense buckled down and started contesting every Oregon City shot.

With 2:45 left in the first half, Lake Oswego got a momentum lifting goal from Cheetham who made a terrific move to get to the net and the team would trail 5-4 at the break.

That momentum carried over past halftime. Kolin picked up a penalty 30 seconds into the second half which forced her to start play away from the net. Paige Timberg was able to out-run her after the whistle and score in the open net to tie the game.

Four minutes later the Lakers would take their first lead of the game when Kilsby put in a shot following a penalty.

"We played the same way we've played all season. We just got tougher every game this year," Anderson said.

Oregon City wasn't done though. After getting a goal waved off because of a crease violation, Cisneros scored again to tie the game.

The game turned just a few seconds later, however when Oregon City was given a yellow card giving Lake Oswego a man-up advantage.

Kilsby would give Lake Oswego the lead back on an assist from Timberg with 11:46 to play. Two minutes later Timberg scored on a pretty shot and she would notch her third goal of the second half with 8:38 to go, making it 9-6.

Oregon City was dealt another blow one minute later when Cisneros was given a yellow card, taking away the Pioneers' top scoring threat at a crucial time.

Oregon City would score following a penalty with 6:34 to go to put the pressure on the Lakers. But the young Lake Oswego team didn't buckle.

"I think I panicked the most. We had young kids making crucial decisions late in the game and they were flawless. It was beautiful to see," Anderson said.

The Lakers played with poise down the stretch, avoiding careless turnovers. When Abby Bergevin capped a breakaway with a goal to put Lake Oswego up 10-7 with less than five minutes to play, the team started to feel that the title was in its grasp.

"We do a lot of two-minute drills and we started feeling confident with the lead in those last few minutes," Kilsby said.

Oregon City mounted one last rally but Hall made a handful of her most spectacular saves in the closing minutes to frustrate the Pioneers.

Oregon City would score once more in the closing seconds but it was too late and, as the final horn sounded, Lake Oswego began a long and exuberant celebration.