by: Vern Uyetake, Lakeridge’s Casey Costello, right, looks to dribble around a Lake Oswego defender during last Thursday’s Civil War game. Costello scored an early goal but Lake Oswego was able to earn a 1-1 tie.

The Lake Oswego girls soccer team is becoming proficient at avoiding losses. That doesn't mean that the Lakers always win. But they haven't lost any games this season, either.

In the process of avoiding losses, the Lakers have had to settle for four ties, including a 1-1 draw against cross-town rival Lakeridge last Thursday. It was the second tie of the season between the two rival schools.

It was probably a fitting outcome for two evenly matched teams, but both squads could have used a victory instead as they battle for playoff position.

Lake Oswego entered last Thursday's contest tied for first in the TRL with Clackamas. But the tie left Lake Oswego two points behind the Cavs, who beat Oregon City that night. The tie dropped Lakeridge six points behind the Cavs and out of the race for first place.

Because of their position in the standings, it was almost imperative that Lakeridge win last Thursday's game, and the Pacers responded with a superb effort, especially in the first half.

Lakeridge's aggressive play netted the game's first goal approximately eight minutes into the opening half. The goal was the result of a hustle play when forward Casey Costello outran Lake Oswego goalkeeper Ariana Green to a ball at the top of the goalie box. Costello then dribbled past the goalie and fired a shot into the net before Lake Oswego's defense could retreat in time.

Lakeridge's 1-0 lead held up for another 40 minutes. In the interim, though, the Pacers had their hands full trying to contain Lake Oswego forward Mady Johnson, who has become one of top scoring threats in the league.

To its credit, the Lakeridge defense managed to turn Johnson away four times during the remainder of the first half. Then, Johnson turned into a playmaker early in the second half to help get Lake Oswego on the board.

Earlier, Johnson made a near-perfect crossing pass that easily could have resulted in a goal. But Lakeridge goalie A.J. Griffin killed the chance when she intercepted the pass with a great diving stop.

A short time later, Johnson sent a long crossing pass into a dangerous position in front of the net. Initially, the Lakers had trouble gaining control, and then the ball bounced to Katrin Krebs. And Krebs quickly deposited the ball into the net for her first goal of the season.

If you're going to pick a time to get your first goal of the season, 'That would be it. Definitely,' Lake Oswego coach Dominic Yambasu said.

After that, Lake Oswego had only three more decent scoring chances but only one of them required a save by Griffin. The Lakers sent the other two balls well over the crossbar. At the other end, though, Lakeridge was having an even tougher time finding the net against Lake Oswego's stingy defense.

'We came out slow … But once we started playing, we had the run of play all the way to the end,' Yambasu said.

Yambasu liked the fact that his team was able to rebound after falling behind.

'That's the mark of a good team - a team that can fall behind and then climb back out of that hole,' Yambasu said. 'To get the equalizer and not lose the game - that's the sign of a good team.'

Lake Oswego kept its run going by beating Oregon City 1-0 on Tuesday. That moved Lake Oswego back into a tie for first place after Clackamas played Lakeridge to a 1-1 tie.

And, with Oregon City's loss to the Lakers, Lakeridge moved into third place in the league standings.

'We played well. I was pleased with our effort,' Lakeridge coach Ryan Furrer said after the game.

Clackamas scored early in that game and held the lead until the 22nd minute. That's when Melanie Deane scored off a corner kick. Then, the rest of the game turned into a defensive battle.

'We played solid defense,' Furrer said. 'And A.J. (Griffin) made some good saves.'

Regardless of where they finish in the league standings, the Pacers will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs.

'I feel like we're doing some good things,' Furrer said. 'I feel very positive about what we've done.'

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