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Boys soccer does enough to outscore Canby


West Linn controls the game and survives 5-4 despite giving up three goals on free kicks

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Ryan Barber looks to beat a Canby defender to the ball in last week's victory by the Lions.The West Linn boys soccer team picked up its second league win of the year on Tuesday, scoring a season-high five goals in the process. And the Lions would need all five to fend off Canby at home on senior night.

The Lions controlled the game and seemingly put the Cougars away a handful of times but West Linn gave up three goals on free kicks and a penalty kick which kept Canby in contention until the closing seconds.

The first half went back and forth with the Lions creating multiple scoring opportunities. Bryce Madden put the Lions on the board with an early goal and Jackson Brooke tallied another midway through the half to make it 2-1.

West Linn had very little trouble breaking down Canby's defense and ended up with easily its best offensive showing of the season.

Two minutes after taking the lead, West Linn earned a free kick and Sammer Stephens scored it in the top left corner of the net, giving the Lions a two-goal advantage.

But Canby would rally quickly. West Linn was whistled for a foul at the edge of the goal box, giving Canby a penalty kick which the team would score easily. Then, with 50 seconds left in the half, the Cougars knocked in a well-placed free kick to make it 3-3.

“It's some of the little things like that that have hurt us this season,” Bean said.

The Lions didn't let the late goal bother them. West Linn continued to put pressure on Canby and scored again just three minutes into the second half.

Taylor Hefty drilled a shot from 20 yards out as the Lions regained the lead. Hefty remains a spark for the Lions after making the switch from defense to midfield, a move that has dramatically helped West Linn on offense.

“We had a hole in the midfield that no one wanted to fill. Taylor stepped up and he's been outstanding,” coach Greg Bean said.

Canby nearly answered a few minutes later. Goalie Zach Nelson made a save following another free kick and had to recover in time to knock away a rebound from point blank range to preserve the lead.

Brooke and Jake Bray each had scoring chances that narrowly missed and West Linn appeared to seal the game with 8:30 remaining.

Following a miscue by the Canby goalie, Lucas Evans knocked the ball in from in front of the net to make it 5-3.

Evans was terrific in the game helping to contain Canby's star forward and one of the most dynamic players in the state.

“I thought Lucas played an unbelievable game. He was so smart and made great decisions,” Bean said.

However, with just five minutes left, the Cougars earned another free kick and would score to put the pressure on West Linn's defense once more.

The Lions earned three corner kicks in the closing minutes to burn valuable time but Canby had one final opportunity but the shot sailed wide.

West Linn now has seven points in the league with just two regular season games remaining. The Lions play Lakeridge and Clackamas on the road and sit just three points behind three different teams in the TRL as they look to move up in the standings.

“Our goal is just to get as many points as we can in these last games to set ourselves up as best as possible,” Bean said.