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Pioneers on fire

Oregon City's girls lacrosse team is fast proving itself among the top programs in the state
by: photo by Craig Mitcheldyer, Oregon City sophomore Sammy Ross works for a shot, while Sarah Normandin (2) defends during last week’s match with West Linn. The Pioneers remained unbeaten on the season with a 6-5 victory.

OREGON CITY - Oregon City's girls lacrosse team has been on fire this spring.

The Pioneers won a 6-5 thriller from cross-river rival West Linn last week, pushing their record to 4-0 in the Three Rivers League and 7-0 overall.

Oregon City, which advanced to the state quarterfinals a year ago, was ranked third in the state - behind St. Mary's and Lincoln - entering play this week.

The Pioneers are atop the league standings in a five-team league with Lake Oswego (5-3, 2-2), West Linn (4-2, 1-2), Lakeridge (2-2, 1-2) and Tigard (2-3, 0-2).

The Three Rivers League has been a powerhouse in the state since high school lacrosse began in 1995. Lakeridge and West Linn have won state titles every year but one during the sport's brief run at the high school level.

Oregon City's fledgling program is in its fifth season with a varsity program. The Pioneers had their best season ever a year ago, advancing to the state quarterfinals.

In games played through last week, the Pioneers had outscored their seven opponents 106-24, with wins over all four league opponents, and over nonleague teams Southridge (23-0), Sheldon (12-4) and West Salem (21-5).

Senior co-captain Johannah Wong explained the Pioneers' success this spring:

'I think we have good athletes and a really good work ethic. We've been friends for a really long time, and we have a really good coach. She just puts her whole heart into the program to make it everything that it can be.'

Wong said that Oregon City coach Dara Kramer has worked tirelessly to build one of the top feeder programs in the state, with teams at the fifth, sixth, seven and eighth grade levels.

Kramer was a member of Lakeridge's first team in 1995.

All but two players on this year's roster were on Oregon City's team a year ago.

'I think we're definitely stronger [than a year ago],' Wong said. 'We're stronger with individual stick skills as well as with movement off the ball.'

Pioneers sport

a youthful lineup

Starters for the Pioneers in last week's game with the Lions were: seniors Wong, Kayleigh Potts and Lori Hanken; juniors Hannah Mills, Jessica Kuehlwein, Sam Ross and Katie Sanburn; and sophomores Maddie Garcia, Natalie Harrington, Kaitlyn Harper, Brianne Paisley and Rachel Wong. Senior Margaret Douglass saw big minutes off the bench.

Harrington headed the scoring against the Lions, with three goals and an assist.

Harrington (midfielder) is the Pioneers' scoring leader on the season, with 25 goals and 11 assists.

Sanburn, an attacker, has 22 goals and 13 assist; Ross (center) has 13 goals and seven assists; Harper (midfielder) has 13 goals and six assists.

Keeper Kayleigh Potts has the best save average in the Three Rivers League, at 74 percent.

In upcoming games, the Pioneers meet Tigard (6 p.m. tonight) and Westview (7:30 p.m. Thursday) on the road this week, before returning home next Monday at 6 p.m., hosting Sherwood. They entertain Cleveland on Monday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m., and they meet West Linn at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, in a rematch with the Lions at West Linn.