The Pacers notch a pair of 1-0 wins and will face Tigard this Saturday

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lakeridge's Krissy Craig looks to make a steal during the Pacers' opening round victory over Hillsboro on Saturday. Lakeridge beat Hillsboro 1-0 and then topped Westview by the same score to advance to the state quarterfinals.The Lakeridge girls soccer team scored two goals in its first two playoff games and it was good enough for two wins, as the team continued its hot streak and propelled itself into the quarterfinals for the third time in four years.

The Pacers have now won six straight games after finishing the regular season on a four-game winning streak which locked down the school's first league championship since 2004.

In previous seasons, Lakeridge has entered the postseason with the monicker of underdogs and performed well. This year, the Pacers are a No. 2 seed but that target on their backs has not effected their play.

“This had kind of been a traditional Lakeridge finish. I'm very proud of this group. They're hard-working and have tried to meet every challenged in front of them,” Granlund said.

On Saturday, Lakeridge took on a scrappy Hillsboro team which gave the Pacers a battle in the opening round.

The Pacers dominated possession in the game but struggled to put Hillsboro away. Lakeridge got a goal midway through the first half from Lauren King and then relied on its defense to seal the victory.

Hillsboro didn't have the ball much on its side of the field but mounted the occasional counter attack. Goalie Sarah Swanson also made a terrific save on a free kick early in the second half.

The Pacers played calm and under control while nursing the slim lead. Maddie Krauss hit a shot just over the crossbar while Krissy Craig and Erin Elliott each had hard shots that were saved nicely by the Hillsboro goalie.

Hillsboro had one late chance in the closing minutes but the shot went over the crossbar as the Pacers advanced.

Lakeridge then hosted a tough Westview team in the second round. The Wildcats finished second in the competitive Metro League this year and featured a stingy defense and terrific goalie. Westview was also coming off a hard-fought 1-0 overtime win over Lake Oswego on Saturday, becoming the only team to beat a Three Rivers League opponent in the opening round.

“We knew they were a very good team coming into the game and that it would take a quality effort to win,” Granlund said.

Playing in the rain, Tuesday's game was dominated by defense as well. Scoring chances were tough to come by in the first half. Lakeridge's best chance came 15 minutes into the game when Krauss found some open space deep in Westview territory but hit her shot off the post.

Four minutes later, a Westview shot deflected off a Lakeridge foot and the spin made for an awkward save for Swanson, but she was able to get enough of it to push the ball off the goal post for a corner kick.

The game was tied 0-0 at the half and was evenly matched. But the Pacers started to slowly gain the advantage in the second half. King and Natalie Bristol each had shots that were saved by the Westview goalie.

Westview's defense has been exceptionally organized this year in front of its talented goalie and Lakeridge knew it might need a special effort to put one in the net.

With 28:20 to play in the game, that's exactly what the Pacers received.

Nicole Helm received the ball deep on the left side of the field and struck a perfect cross into the goal box where Bristol ran on to it and slammed it into the net for one of the team's prettiest goals of the season.

That goal sparked Lakeirdge even further. Krauss had a nice cross that went unanswered and hit another shot just wide while Bristol made a dangerous run that was eventually cleared.

Westview pressed forward looking for the equalizer but the Lakeridge defense was disciplined and held on for the victory.

“I thought we were much more organized on defense than we had been on Saturday against Hillsboro,” Granlund said.

With the win, Lakeridge will travel to face Tigard on Saturday. The Tigers are ranked No. 4 in the state and tied for the Pacific Conference title this year with Tualatin.

“We know there are no easy games in the playoffs. The fact that they tied Tualatin says a lot,” Granlund said.

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