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All four LHS, LO soccer teams likely headed to postseason

by: J. BRIAN MONIHAN, 
Lake Oswego’s Cale Bigelow, center, weaves between a pair of West Linn defenders during last week’s 1-1 tie against the Lions. The Laker boys will finish second in the TRL behind Lakeridge.

In what has been a topsy-turvy season in both boys and girls soccer in the Three Rivers League this year, with one game remaining, it now appears all four Laker and Pacer teams are set to make the playoffs.

The Lake Oswego boys are firmly entrenched in second place with only a home game against Putnam remaining before the playoffs.

And with that placement, Lake Oswego earns a home playoff game against the No. 4 team out of the Metro League on Saturday, Nov. 1.

'We just want to put in a complete performance for 80 minutes and try not to leak some of the goals we've been letting in,' Laker coach Fraser Morrison said.

The Lakers have beaten every team they have played in league this year with the exception of Lakeridge and have proven that they are one of the most explosive teams on offense in the state.

In the team's most recent victory, Lake Oswego knocked off West Linn 2-0 last Thursday. Lake Oswego was playing without two of its top players in Jackson Ray and Thomas Iwasaki who are both nursing minor injuries.

The Lions have been playing better since the first time the two teams met, particularly on defense.

But, once again, Lake Oswego controlled the majority of the game. The Lakers got on the board in the first half when Chris Schroeder made a nice pass to Troy Hall.

But the Lions stayed in the game and only trailed 1-0 at the break.

Lake Oswego's midfield and defense was strong all evening and didn't yield too many good threats from West Linn.

The Lakers gave themselves some breathing room midway through the second half on a goal by Ryo Asai.

'We felt pretty comfortable once we got that second goal but we were a little apprehensive before that,' Morrison said.

It marked Asai's 12th goal of the year, making him the team's top scorer. He also has eight assists this season.

The game also marked goalie Tom Olen's fourth shut-out of the year.

The Lakers will likely play Sunset or Aloha in the first round of the playoffs.

The Lakeridge boys clinched another league championship with a 4-0 win over Oregon City on Tuesday.

The Pacers held a 2-0 over the Pioneers at halftime and Josch Heismann scored twice after the break to help put the game away.

'We played pretty well. I don't think we were ever really worried,' Lakeridge coach Paul Slover said.

After Lakeridge knocked off Lake Oswego for the second time, it went through a bit of a lull, tying Putnam and eking out a 1-0 victory over Clackamas.

But it was enough to clinch another TRL title. And what to the Pacers get as a reward?

Placement in an exceedingly difficult part of the boys 6A bracket.

While Lakeridge does earn a first-round bye, Slover believes that is almost a disadvantage.

'I'd much rather play a game. You have to play a team that has already won and has some momentum,' the coach said.

And, in all likelihood, the team it could face in the first round will be either Roseburg, one of the hottest teams in the state, or Jesuit, one of the best teams in the state year in and year out.

'In the playoffs you have to beat everyone eventually. That first win can give you such a boost and I think if we can get past that one we can go pretty far,' Slover said.

For the girls, Lake Oswego and Lakeridge won't know officially where they will fall until after tonight's (Thursday's) games.

The Pacers haven't officially punched their ticket but only need a win or tie against winless Milwaukie to clinch a berth.

Lakeridge did itself a huge favor when it knocked off Oregon City 1-0 on Tuesday, sweeping the Pioneers this season and becoming the only team in the league to beat Oregon City twice.

Jenna Horton scored the team's lone goal in the second half.

Lakeridge continues to be one of the hottest teams in the league and has caught fire at the right time although it lost 2-0 to a fired up Clackamas team last Thursday.

Lakeridge can still finish third or fourth in the league and, surprisingly, the No. 4 seed appears to have a slightly better draw.

Lake Oswego continues to rebound well after a brief blip which saw the team lose back-to-back games against Oregon City and Clackamas.

The Lakers tied West Linn 1-1 last week after falling behind in the first half. Mady Johnson came up with a second-half goal to help Lake Oswego earn a point.

'We played well. We had some chances that we didn't finish but (West Linn) is a strong team,' Laker coach Dominic Yambasu said.

The Laker coach believes that, no matter where his team ends up, it will be battle-tested for the playoffs.

'This year there are five teams that deserve to make the playoffs. We are going to see some teams that probably haven't had as strong of a league as we have. We just have to stay tough mentally and be smart with the ball,' Yambasu said.

The Lakers take on Putnam tonight and could still finish anywhere between second and fourth place.

The third seed, however, would likely play Jesuit in the first round, a team that has been tallying lopsided victories all season long.