The premier match-up in the first round of the Class 6A girls soccer state playoffs produced a suitably premier performance.
Unfortunately for Lake Oswego, one of Oregon's premier teams - in this case the Metro League champion Jesuit Crusaders (13-0-2) - stood squarely in its way Saturday night. Jesuit got two goals from Sarah Bridges and used that advantage to hold off the Lakers (9-3-3) by a 3-1 margin at Jesuit High School.
'I think we did real well after they scored the first goal, picking ourselves back up,' said Lake Oswego senior co-captain Mady Johnson, whose team was third in the Three Rivers League regular season. 'I think if we would have gotten momentum, but it just was never really there.'
'They're definitely one of our rivals,' added Laker junior Cali Reis, who had her team's lone goal on a free kick from 30 yards out. 'We know how good they are and they know how good we are. It's a good match-up and I'm glad we had the opportunity to play them.'
And Lake Oswego very easily might have won if only the Lakers had cashed in on a couple golden opportunities to score in the game's first six minutes. The first of those came on a free kick into the Jesuit penalty box by Gabbie Lindeman. The Crusaders failed to clear the ball promptly and Megan Swindells came up with a hard shot that missed just wide of the goal five minutes into the game.
The Lakers had another great chance two minutes later when Johnson passed to Melinda Madden on the left side of the Jesuit penalty box and Madden struck a hard shot that forced Jesuit keeper Christine Webb to make a difficult save.
Jesuit broke through for the game's first goal with 18:31 left in the first half when Emily Fellows and Annie Jonsson knocked the ball across the Laker goalmouth to Bridges. She collected it on the left side some 15 yards out and drove it home at the left post for a 1-0 lead.
Bridges made it 2-0 11 minutes into the second half when she took a pass from Fellow, shot the ball off a Laker defender, then got to the rebound and knocked it home at the left post.
But the Lakers weren't done quite yet. Reis cut the gap to 2-1 on her long free kick with 24:57 left to play, sending a high, arcing shot that went over the outstretched hand of Webb and into the top of the net.
'Cali had an amazing goal,' Johnson said.
'We've been down before,' Reis said. 'We knew we could come back.'
Jesuit kept the pressure on, however, and got the insurance goal it had been chasing when Jonsson scored on a 15-yard shot from the left side of the goal with 13:49 remaining.
'We just needed to keep the energy constant; we needed it the entire game and it might have been different,' Johnson said.
'We kept in mind that this could be our last game so we gave it our all,' Reis added. 'But I guess we'll get them next year.'