The Lake Oswego boys lacrosse team out played Sunset for three full quarters of last week's semifinal at Wilsonville High School. In fact, the Lakers' defense, which has been a cornerstone for the team all season, didn't give up a goal in those three quarters.
But Sunset's lone scoring outburst of the contest, a four-goal third period, was enough, just barely, to secure a 4-3 win over Lake Oswego, ending one of its better seasons in school history.
It was a bitter pill for the Lakers to swallow to say the least but the game itself was an epic defensive struggle.
Lake Oswego owned the first half, giving Sunset very little in the way of scoring chances. But the Lakers squandered some opportunities in the first two quarters, hampering their own offense with uncharacteristic turnovers.
Despite Lake Oswego controlling the vast majority of the first two quarters, Sunset had to be feeling fortunate that it only trailed 2-0 at the break.
The Lakers were aggressive in the early going, winning the ground ball battle convincingly in the first quarter.
Lake Oswego had an early goal waved off because of a crease violation but scored a little more than a minute later when J.B. Holmes beat his defender.
Meanwhile, the Lakers' defense was outstanding, giving up just one shot by the Apollos in the first few minutes of the game.
Evan Scheuerlein, Jon Lenhoff and Marcus Kosloff all had standout performances in front of goalie Sam Fricke who also had one of his best showings of the season.
Lake Oswego led 1-0 after the end of the first quarter but had chances to bolster that lead, missing on some open attempts.
The same went for the second quarter. Fricke made a handful of terrific saves early in the second period and Sunset hit the crossbar on another attempt.
The Lakers continued to win ground balls and frustrated Sunset's attack but careless passing errors led to more Lake Oswego turnovers.
Four minutes into the quarter, Seth Goddin made a nice fake and scored to make it 2-0. The Lakers had a chance to extend their advantage before the half but squandered a man-up situation with another turnover.
The tide turned early in the second half as Lake Oswego committed a pair of early turnovers. The Apollos got on the board a little more than a minute into the second half and the penalties plus more turnovers allowed Sunset to have some extended possession for the first time all game.
This allowed the Sunset offense to settle into a rhythm and, midway through the quarter, Sunset's Colin Skaggs scored twice in a 30-second period to suddenly give Sunset a 3-2 lead.
Sunset regained possession in the closing seconds of the quarter and Cole Abdie got off a shot that crossed the goal as the buzzer sounded which made it 4-2 and was an enormous shot in the arm for the Apollos.
The late goal gave Sunset's defense a boost as well as the Apollos were swarming and physical in protecting the lead.
Sunset made a concerted effort to take the ball out of Billy Able's stick and did an admirable job executing that strategy.
Lake Oswego struggled to get clean looks but continued to scratch and claw for every loose ball.
With just under five minutes to play in the game, Goddin scored again on a gorgeous behind-the-back shot to make it 4-3.
Sunset tried to work the clock in the closing minutes but Lake Oswego still managed to get opportunities. The Lakers' Alex Krenek forced a huge late turnover with one minute to play in the contest but a pass out of bounds with 17 seconds remaining sealed the Lakers' fate.
The loss ended a terrific season for the team that saw the Lakers tie for the league title and earn the top seed from the TRL. Lake Oswego will graduate a very solid senior class of 11 key contributors.