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No. 1 Lakeridge downs the No. 2 Lions with a strong defensive showing

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lakeridge's Tyler Rich makes a move against a West Linn defender in the Pacers' 10-6 victory over the Lions last week. The Lakeridge boys lacrosse team continues to rack up big victories and is living up to its No. 1 rank in the state.

In a heavily anticipated showdown at West Linn High School, the Pacers rode a stellar defensive performance to a 10-6 victory to stay unbeaten in league.

The Lions entered the game ranked No. 2 in the state. While the teams traded possession and scoring opportunities, the difference in the contest was Lakeridge's efficiency on offense along with the play of its back line and, in particular, goalie Brooks Dutton.

West Linn controlled possession for the first five minutes of the game, keeping the ball on Lakeridge's side of the field for the majority of that time.

However, the Lions struggled to get high percentage shots against the Lakeridge defense and couldn't take advantage. West Linn finally got on the board midway through the period and held a 1-0 advantage until 4:04 in the stanza.

JR McLaughlin broke the scoring drought for the Pacers at the very end of a man-up opportunity and the goal sparked the Pacers for the rest of the quarter.

Lakeridge's Nate Lambka scored with one minute left in the period and, despite playing on its heels for much of the quarter, Lakeridge led 2-1 heading into the second frame.

Lakeridge scored just eight seconds into the second period when Tyler Rich corralled the face-off and went down the field by himself for a score.

West Linn responded quickly but the Pacers would control the majority of the second quarter.

The Pacers started to pull away midway through the quarter when Holden Catlett and McLaughlin scored within 30 seconds of each other.

The Lions would cut the lead to 5-3 but McLaughlin picked up a first-half hat trick with a hugely important goal just seven seconds before the buzzer.

As West Linn was attempting a comeback late in the second quarter, Dutton made a handful of terrific saves, some at close range to frustrate the Lions.

West Linn didn't give up, controlling possession early in the second half as well but, again, the Pacers had an answer and weathered the storm. Chris Barman scored on an assist from McLaughlin to up the lead and Barman scored again midway through the period to give Lakeridge its largest lead of the game.

West Linn wasn't quite finished though. Late in the third quarter, Lakeridge was whistled for three penalties, giving the Lions a three-man-up opportunity which they cashed in on.

Then, early in the fourth quarter, West Linn made it 8-5 as it looked to make a dramatic final push.

However, McLaughlin countered that goal one minute later with a terrific individual effort to quell West Linn's momentum.

Michael Ashworth would score a few minutes later on a pass from Barman to seal the victory.

Lakeridge would then thump Oregon City 16-4 on Tuesday to move to 4-0 in league.

Lakeridge will take on Bainbridge Island from Washington this Saturday at home.

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