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Lakers advance to Elite 8

by: VERN UYETAKE, 
Lake Oswego’s Ryo Asai tries to keep his balance during the team’s 4-0 win over Aloha last week. Asai had a goal in that game and two more against Forest Grove on Tuesday.

The Lake Oswego boys soccer team is through to the quarterfinals and in convincing fashion as well.

The Lakers tallied a 4-0 victory over Aloha last Thursday and then came away with a 3-0 decision on the road at Forest Grove on Tuesday to set up a showdown this Saturday against Hood River Valley.

Against the Warriors, the game was even through the first 20 minutes with each team getting a handful of opportunities.

But with 15 minute to play in the half, Brian Greenberg got a foot on a cross from a corner kick and knocked it just past the Aloha goalie to give the Lakers an early 1-0 lead.

Ryo Asai wreaked havoc against the Warriors and got off a handful of hard shots. He also sent numerous crosses into the box as the Aloha defense was sent scrambling.

With just over three minutes to play in the half, Greenberg laid a perfect pass to Jackson Ray who got behind the defense. Ray then had only the keeper to beat and finished the opportunity to give the Lakers a 2-0 advantage at the break.

'We've always been an attacking team and have been able to score,' Ray said.

Aloha put the pressure on Lake Oswego early in the second half as it tried to keep itself in the game.

But Asai continued to create chances on the Warriors' side of the field. Early in the half he hit a pass from near the endline that glanced off the crossbar but went unanswered.

Aloha stayed in the game, getting off seven shots in the half, but was put away for good at the 16:27 mark.

Troy Hall sent a free kick toward the goal and Asai knocked a diving header into the net.

Then, with just under 10 minutes to play in the game, Ray put pressure on the Aloha defense and ended up beating the Warriors' goalie while maintaining control of the ball.

'I got a little bit of a lucky bounce and had an open goal from three yards out,' Ray said.

He was able to knock a shot into the open net to complete the scoring on the night.

'I think we came out and played well. Aloha is a good side out of a good league and it was a test for us,' Laker coach Fraser Morrison said.

That victory meant that the Lakers earned a trip to Forest Grove to take on a Vikings team that pounded Gresham 5-1 in the first round of the playoffs.

Lake Oswego got off to a strong start, scoring in the first five minutes of the game when Asai scored off a well-placed corner kick taken by Hall.

The Vikings played even with the Lakers for much of the half but the Lake Oswego back line of Bryan Williams, Cale Bigelow, Macgregor Hodgson and Nick Nelson played extremely well again and goalie Tom Olen made a handful of solid stops.

'I think getting that first goal settled us down and maybe a little too much,' Morrison said.

Forest Grove kept pressure on Lake Oswego and stayed in the game until midway through the second half when Asai got his second goal of the game on an assist from Hall.

The Lakers put the game away for good late in the half when Ray scored after hauling in a long pass from Hodgson.

Lake Oswego will now host Hood River Valley, the No. 2 team from the Mt. Hood Conference.

Hood River Valley beat North Medford 4-0 and South Salem 4-1 to reach the quarterfinals.

'We continue to tell the team that they're a talented group. Now it's about being professional and taking care of business when they step on the field,' Morrison said.

The game will be on Saturday at Lake Oswego at 6 p.m.