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The Lions avoid a play-in game with a 1-1 tie at Lakeridge

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - West Linn's Mary Richardson fends off Lakeridge's Natalie Bristol during last week's 1-1 draw. Richardson scored the Lions' goal in the second half on a penalty kick.The West Linn girls soccer team clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs last week, rallying to earn a 1-1 draw with Lakeridge on the road.

The Lions lost to the Pacers earlier in the year but played a more consistent game this time around and earned a key point from the contest.

The first half went back and forth with both teams earning a few chances. West Linn held the possession advantage slightly but, with a chance to clinch a top-three finish for both teams on the line, the Lions and Pacers were each somewhat tentative.

In the previous game, Lakeridge hurt West Linn with counter-attacks and the Lions adjusted well to contain that part of the Pacers' game.

With the game still scoreless, Lakeridge struck early in the second half with a long-range goal from Mallory Walton.

Lakeridge then drilled a shot off the post that would have given the Pacers a commanding lead midway through the second half.

West Linn countered and started to dominate the final 15 minutes of the game. Juliana Guthner had a hard shot that was saved and the Lions put heavy pressure on Lakeridge as the team looked to avoid a disappointing loss.

With less than 10 minutes to play in the game, Isabella Reichner was taken down in the box and the Lions were awarded a penalty kick.

Mary Richardson took the attempt and easily scored it to tie the game.

The Lions continued to keep heavy pressure on the Lakeridge net in the final 10 minutes and withstood a few chances from the Pacers.

A final header from West Linn sailed just wide in the closing minutes as the teams settled for a draw.

Heading into its final game of the regular season on Wednesday against first-place Clackamas, the Lions were 4-2-3 and in second place in the TRL.

West Linn was also ranked No. 14 in the state by the OSAA, the highest ranking of any team in the league.

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