The Pacer girls soccer team played what might have been its season's best first half on Saturday against an undefeated South Salem team in the first round of playoff games at Gilmore Field in Salem.

Lakeridge came to play, and took control early dominating possession and keeping pressure in their offensive zone for most of the half.

Jenna Horton broke the scoreless tie with 3:24 left in the half with a left-footed shot into the corner of the net that put the undefeated Saxons back on their heels

The second half was an entirely different game. With South Salem's perfect season at risk, the Saxons immediately pressured Lakeridge with relentless ball control that finally paid off at the 32:45 mark with a long shot from outside the box which tied the score at 1-1.

And South Salem was quick to capitalize on the sudden momentum shift. Four minutes later, the host team delivered another goal with a perfectly executed cross and header to take the lead.

But the Pacers were far from finished.

Lakeridge fought back, countering with a game-tying goal headed in by Kathryn Little with 16:59 to play in the game.

The contest throughout was a physical battle where both teams played tough, aggressive soccer resulting in yellow cards on both squads .

But in the last 10 minutes, South Salem's pressure broke the Pacer defense and the Saxons pushed across two goals, closing the door on the Pacer's season and completing one of the most entertaining games of the first round of the playoffs.

To date it was one of the best games that South Salem has been given by any team this year.

Lakeridge only graduates four seniors from a team that came on strong late in the year to make the playoffs in what turned out to be one of the most competitive and talented leagues in the state.

The Pacers will start next fall with an experienced team that is battle tested both in league play and in the postseason.

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