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LO girls lacrosse downs West Linn

In their first meeting since last year's title game, Lake Oswego pulls away late 11-8


MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lake Oswego's Madison Focht tries to maintain possession of the ball during her team's showdown with West Linn on Tuesday. The Lakers knocked off West Linn 11-8.The only downside to the Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team's 11-8 victory over West Linn on Tuesday might be that the Lakers can no longer assume the role as upstart underdogs this season.

Even though Lake Oswego is the defending state champion, coach Lauren Anderson believed that her young squad faced an uphill battle this season as the Lions returned a very large contingent from last year's team which finished as runners up.

The Lakers looked like the better team for the majority of Tuesday's game at Lake Oswego High School, jumping out to a four-goal lead in the first half and then using a tremendous defensive effort to hold the Lions scoreless for the final 15 minutes.

West Linn got on the board first but the Lakers would answer just 30 seconds later on Avery Hawes' goal with an assist from Madeline Reece.

Lake Oswego would control the majority of the opening half, doing well on draws and doing well to keep the ball away from the Lions' star Natalie Byrne.

Hawes would score again to give Lake Oswego the lead and Madison Lamont added to the tally, sparking an early timeout by the Lions.

Reece then notched her first goal of the game one minute later to make it 4-1. After the Lions broke up the four-goal run, the Lakers slowed the pace of the game down, being deliberate on offense and working the ball around for the best shot.

Madison Focht scored on another assist from Reece and Lauren Gilbert then scored following a penalty to make it 6-2 with less than five minutes to play in the half.

But West Linn would get back into the game quickly. The Lions rattle off three straight goals in less than four minutes and nearly tied the game with less than a minute to play but the goal was waived off due to a penalty.

Still, after controlling most of the half, Lake Oswego only led 6-5 at the break.

West Linn would tie the game one minute into the second half and looked to continue its momentum shift. However, the Lakers answered each one of the Lions' runs.

Reece scored less than a minute after West Linn tied the game. Lake Oswego continued to be physical with Byrne but she took her team on her back early in the second half, scoring all three of West Linn's goals.

Still, Lake Oswego never trailed, getting go-ahead goals from Gilbert and another from Reece following a penalty.

The Lakers were terrific in the final 15 minutes of the game, chewing up clock and tightening up on defense.

Lake Oswego's Julianna Ramey created turnovers on defense and Riley Hertford was terrific in goal, coming up with multiple saves down the stretch to preserve the lead.

With less than four minutes to play, Lake Oswego stayed aggressive, getting another goal from Hawes to give her team insurance.

The Lakers then won the ensuing draw and Hawes scored in transition to all but seal the game.

Lake Oswego will face the Lions again next Thursday with the league title on the line.

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