Westview douses Lakers in rain-soaked semifinal
The final 15 minutes of the Lake Oswego boys soccer team's season may have been its worst of the year but it's hardly indicative of the team's impressive run to the semifinals.
In a driving rain storm and trailing 2-0 to top-ranked Westview, Lake Oswego pushed forward in a last-ditch effort to keep its hopes of advancing to the state title game alive.
But the Wildcats' defense was dominant all evening and Westview took advantage of the Lakers' aggression with late counter attacks, scoring three goals in the final 15 minutes to turn what had been a close contest into a 5-0 rout by the final whistle.
It was the second time in four years that the Lakers have made the semifinals, falling in 2004 to Lakeridge in a wild overtime game. The Pacers would go on to win the state title that season.
It was also the second time in two years that the Wildcats have put an end to Lake Oswego's season.
It was only the second time all year that the Lakers have been shut out. The first occurred on Sept. 4 in a preseason game against Grant which the Lakers lost 1-0.
Grant will take on Westview in the state championship game this Saturday.
The Wildcats were keyed by their defense all night and yielded very few scoring chances for the Lakers. Lake Oswego only got off two shots on goal which is a remarkable statistic considering that the Lakers have been one of the most prolific scoring teams in the state this year.
'They obviously had a plan and executed it well. You're going to have games like this sometimes,' Laker coach Fraser Morrison said.
And Westview's counter attack proved lethal. The Wildcats showed the ability to turn one errant Lake Oswego pass into a terrific opportunity in a matter of seconds.
Much of that was due to the play of Erik Hurtado, one of the best players in the state, who was a threat to score virtually every time he put a foot on the ball.
Through the first 20 minutes of Tuesday's semifinal game, the Lakers played evenly with Westview matching the Wildcats in time of possession.
But the game shifted midway through the half.
After Lake Oswego turned the ball over at midfield and a dangerous pass was sent to the left side of the goal box. Hurtado moved into perfect position and one-timed a perfectly placed shot into the net for the game's first goal.
'Hurtado is a tremendous talent but I think, for the most part, Troy Hall did a very nice job on him,' Morrison said.
After getting on the board, Westview began to assert itself a bit more on offense and had a pair of near-misses from Hurtado. One sailed just over the top of the net and the other was saved by Laker goalie Tom Olen.
Lake Oswego got a chance to score late in the half on a nice ball to Ryo Asai but the forward couldn't quite get a handle on it for a shot.
Westview was calm and collected on defense all night and came away with a number of clean takeaways and clears when Lake Oswego put pressure on them.
The second half started more physically and three yellow cards were handed out in the first 10 minutes following the break. The hard rain also intensified as the Lakers sought to put the equalizer in the net.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Westview mounted another counter attack and a ball was sent toward the top of the Laker goal box. After a collision, Hurtado maintained his balanced and came away with a wide open shot that he easily scored.
The 2-0 advantage left the Wildcats feeling confident as the team has only given up two goals in a game once all year.
Even as the Lakers pushed forward with more intensity, Westview continued to keep Lake Oswego's scoring chances to a minimum.
Jackson Ray had a chance midway through the half but couldn't get settled to get a clean shot off.
Westview all but put the game away with 15 minutes to play. Connor Pinson maintained control of a contested ball and hit a low shot to the far post for his team's third goal.
Lake Oswego countered with heavy pressure and received three corner kicks in succession but couldn't get on the scoreboard.
The Wildcats scored twice in the final 10 minutes on counter attacks with Jaime Rios and Adam Irinaga getting on the board for the final tallies.
It was a tough way to end the season but Morrison had nothing but positive things to say about his team after the game.
'Two years ago we missed the playoffs, last year we met Westview early and this year we got to the semifinals. The guys did a tremendous job this year,' Morrison said.
The Lakers earned a berth in the semifinals with a 2-1 win over Hood River Valley last Saturday.
In a physical and emotional contest, the Lakers kept their cool and made the one-goal lead at halftime hold up.
The game featured numerous scoring opportunities by both teams.
Lake Oswego had the better of the play for much of the contest and nearly got on the board in the first 10 minutes when Brian Greenberg knocked a one-timer off the post.
Hood River responded on offense but the team was whistled for three offsides infractions in quick succession.
At the 22:48 mark in the first half, the Lakers broke through.
Jan Oldekop sent a nice cross to Greenberg who converted on a one-timer.
That lead would hold up for all of 15 seconds however as Hood River took possession on the kick-off and marched down the field for a score.
But Lake Oswego wasn't demoralized and refused to let Hood River seize the momentum.
'We gave up a sloppy goal but I was proud of how we were able to come back,' Morrison said.
Olen made a terrific save on a hard shot a few minutes later and, with 10 minutes to play in the half, Lake Oswego scored again.
This time Ray found space at the top of the box and hit a well-placed shot past the goalie for what would prove to be the game winner.
Tempers grew heated as the game progressed and Lake Oswego players complained about dirty play which included being spat at during the game.
But the Lakers didn't retaliate and the team turned in yet another solid defensive performance in the postseason to win the tough quarterfinal match-up.
'I thought we did a good job keeping our heads. In years past we have acted differently,' Morrison said.
Lake Oswego will graduate seven key players from this year's team including Ray, Greenberg, Macgregor Hodgson, Bryan Williams and Three Rivers League player of the year in Hall.
However, the Lakers have a strong junior core that should keep them near the top of the league again next year with Asai, Olen, Cale Bigelow, Thomas Iwasaki and Nick Nelson among other returning.
1 2 Final
Lake Oswego 0 0 0
Westview 1 4 5
Shots: 5 17
On goal: 2 9
Corners: 5 2