West Linn is slow out of the gate and falls 2-0 in its play-in game

by: VERN UYETAKE - West Linn's Colton Hefty fends off a Century player during Tuesday's play-in game. The Lions lost to the Jaguars 2-0, ending their season. The West Linn boys soccer team's season came to an unexpected end on Tuesday when the Lions fell in their play-in game 2-0 at home to Century.

It was a surprising result for a team that had come on strong late in the season and was playing some of its best soccer down the stretch.

West Linn was sluggish to start the game and never fully recovered against the Jaguars.

“We were really slow in the first 20 minutes and I think that set the tone for the game. It just took us a while to start playing,” coach Greg Bean said.

West Linn endured its slow start, staying tied with Century in the early going. The Lions then started to put some pressure on the Jaguars' defense but couldn't convert on a few chances.

“We had four or five really good opportunities in the game and we'd worked on keeping the ball low because their keeper is 6'4” or 6'5” but we just couldn't put (shots) on frame,” Bean said.

Century struck a blow in the closing minutes of the first half when a forward found space at the top of the box and scored, giving the Jaguars a lift heading into the break.

“We played a bit like we did at the beginning of the year where we had some good play mixed in with some mistakes,” Bean said.

West Linn didn't panic and continue to have its chances to knot the score but Century tightened its defense.

The Lions made adjustments midway through the second half to try and bolster its offense. However, the push forward gave Century another chance and the Jaguars made it 2-0 and were then content to focus on defense.

West Linn got some strong play in the game from Jackson Brooke, Ryan Barber, Jake Bray and Lucas Evans but the Lions ultimately couldn't find the back of the net.

“It's a tough way to go out. We felt the boys deserved better than that based on how they'd been playing,” Bean said.

West Linn will graduate seven seniors this year but the future looks strong for the Lions.

While West Linn only had four returning starters this fall, the team will return seven starters next year. The Lions also had two exceptionally talented JV teams this year that will fill in the gaps next season.

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