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LO girls find Lincoln unbeatable

by: Vern Uyetake, Lake Oswego goalkeeper Kat Colson, left, tries to ensure that a header from Lincoln’s Caroline Kreuz won’t find its way into the net during Tuesday night’s state quarterfinal game. Kreuz wound up missing this shot but she later scored on a header to help the Cardinals to a 3-1 victory. Below, Lake Oswego’s Katrin Krebs battles Lincoln’s Aysa Williams for possession near midfield.

Lake Oswego's impressive playoff run came to a difficult conclusion on Tuesday as the Lakers ran into a talented and determined Lincoln squad. The Cardinals came away with the 3-1 victory but, for a while, it looked like Lake Oswego might come out on the winning side of the type of game that is has been victimized by in the past.

In previous postseason runs, the Lakers have had a knack for being ousted in games in which they have outplayed their opponent only to lose in heartbreaking fashion.

But, on Tuesday, Lincoln dominated the game, out-shooting Lake Oswego 17-3 and controlling possession throughout the contest. However, it was the Lakers who got on the board first, scoring on their only shot of the first half.

Lake Oswego held that lead until 10 minutes into the second half when a bizarre lapse allowed the Cardinals to knock in all three of their goals in five minutes and nearly score twice more in that same time frame.

'I thought we battled. Losing this game hurts but we're young and I told the girls to learn something from this game,' coach Dominic Yambasu said.

Lincoln got off to a quick start in the game, thoroughly dominating the first 20 minutes of play. Lake Oswego struggled to possess the ball inside the Cardinals' territory.

But the Lakers withstood the early barrage as the defense didn't give Lincoln many good looks at the goal.

'They're going to put on the pressure right away. I think we came out and battled but things just didn't go as we had planned,' first-half goalie Ariana Green said.

With just under 15 minutes to play in the first half, Lake Oswego was able to play a ball up to Mady Johnson, who beat a defender to it and then maneuvered past Lincoln's sweeper to give herself a left-footed shot that she knocked perfectly past the diving hands of the Cardinals' goalie and off the far post for a goal.

Lincoln responded by earning some of its best scoring chances of the first half, including a header by Paige Harmier and another shot over the crossbar by Caroline Kreuz.

However, Johnson's goal energized the Lakers who started to play with confidence for the first time in the game and the team was able to preserve its lead and its momentum heading into the half.

'After that goal it pumped us up,' Yambasu said.

Lake Oswego opened the second half by getting a great early stop from Kat Colson. The defense of Lauren Duin, Liz Schreyer, Gabbie Lindeman, Tori Gray. Amy Schlesinger and Cali Reis also thwarted Lincoln's pressure.

However, 10 minutes into the half, Lincoln earned a corner kick which Kendall Johnson hit perfectly and Harmier headed it in to tie the score.

'We were thinking 'it's just 40 more minutes and we've got this.' Once they scored one goal, I think we kind of got down,' Duin said.

Then the wheels came off for the Lakers. Three minutes later, Colson punched a dangerous ball away from the goal box but Johnson sent it back in to Kreuz. It appeared the Kreuz was close to being offsides but no flag was raised and she was able to get a foot on the ball to knock it past Colson, who was still out of position from the previous save.

Less than two minutes later, the Cardinals got the ball deep in Lake Oswego territory and earned a free kick from just outside the goal box.

Johnson took the kick and curved a perfect shot around the wall into a tiny window of space by the near post.

'I think we played solid and did our best. They just had some great goals,' Lindeman said.

In the next three minutes, Lincoln had two more shots that missed by mere inches before the Cardinals (17-0) dropped an additional defender back and concentrated on keeping the ball away from the Lakers.

'They're a really good team. They're ranked No. 1 for a reason. But I think our defense was really strong,' Duin said.

It was not an ideal way to end the season for the Lakers (12-2-4) but the team still put together a solid effort against one of the best teams in the state. It should also provide invaluable experience for next year. Lake Oswego is only losing three seniors, Duin, Green and Schreyer and the Lakers will likely contend for the Three Rivers League title.

'Our team played well all season and I think we definitely deserved to get this far,' Lindeman said.

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Lake Oswego earned a spot in the state semifinals for the second time in four years with an impressive road win over Barlow. After a scoreless first half, the Lakers broke through the talented Bruins' defense with a pair of goals and withstood pressure from their exceedingly quick forwards to earn the 2-0 victory.

'This was a great team. They're so fast but my players brought their A-game tonight,' coach Dominic Yambasu said.

The Lakers got off to somewhat of a slow start and Barlow took advantage, earning some good early chances. Ten minutes into the game, Ariana Green made a fantastic diving stop on a well-hit ball to keep the Bruins off the board.

'Everyone played really well. It feels amazing,' the Lakers' Mady Johnson said.

Lake Oswego started to control the pace of the game midway through the first half but didn't come up with many scoring chances. While Barlow didn't possess the ball as well, they had the better opportunities on offense.

Barlow's back line also played very well in what was a physical game. Johnson was dinged up on more than one occasion when she collided with a Bruin defender.

'It was just part of the game and you just have to get it out of your mind and play through it,' Johnson said.

Lake Oswego opened the second half by playing its best soccer of the night. Just five minutes into the half, the Lakers had a goal called back by an offsides penalty.

However, that only sparked the Lakers and four minutes later, Gabbie Lindeman hit a corner kick right to Johnson, who headed it into the back of the net.

'That was a set play we worked on and a goal came out of it,' Yambasu said.

Just a few minutes later, Barlow had its best scoring chance of the night, earning a one-on-the-goalie opportunity but the ensuing shot was sent just wide.

Kat Colson made a diving save of her own to preserve the shutout.

Lake Oswego continued to put pressure on Barlow, knowing that the Bruins had the potential to score quickly. That pressure paid off with nine minutes to go in the game.

'Once we put a ball in the net we relaxed a bit and began to just play the game,' Yambasu said.

Johnson hit a shot that the Barlow goalie saved but couldn't corral. Melinda Madden then ran onto it and knocked into the open net to give the Lakers some insurance.

Lake Oswego played solid defense in the closing minutes to win the quarterfinal showdown.