The Lakers score with 15 seconds left to snap a three-game losing streak to West Linn

The rivalry between the West Linn and Lake Oswego girls lacrosse teams keeps on getting better. Unfortunately for the Lions, that meant suffering their first loss of the season 11-10 last week in one of the closest and most intense battles in the series' recent history.

Lake Oswego's victories ups the ante further for a potential rubber match down the road, very possibly in the state championship game for the third consecutive season.

West Linn and Lake Oswego have clearly separated themselves as the top two teams in the state and perhaps the entire Northwest. After a 15-11 victory on Lake Oswego's home field earlier this year, the Lions were considered the favorites to repeat as champions this year.

However, the Lakers made key adjustments on defense to slow the Lions down slightly this time around and the stage could be set for a thrilling finish to the season.

Despite the terrific rivalry between the teams, few individual games have actually been as evenly matched as last week's. Generally one team has been able to separate itself and be in control in the final minutes.

That wasn't the case last week as the winning goal wasn't score until 15 seconds remaining in regulation.

There wasn't much separation from the teams from start to finish. Lake Oswego made a concerted effort to slow down the Lions' top scorer in Natalie Byrne who torched them earlier this year and in last spring's state title game.

Lake Oswego forced denied Bryne opportunities from close to the net where she thrived a few weeks ago to the tune of nine goals.

Byrne still mustered a hat trick in this game but her shots were more difficult to come by.

West Linn held the advantage on draws once again but Lake Oswego narrowed that deficit and wasn't significantly handicapped by time of possession in this contest.

Lake Oswego's goalie also had a strong outing, posting 10 saves to thwart the Lions.

West Linn's midfield was terrific again, combining for nine goals as both Mariah Gatti and Hanna Morford each scored three times. Jessica Weinhart had the other goal.

However, the Lakers were able to get possession in the final minute and set up one last scoring chance which they converted.

West Linn would rebound with an 18-14 victory against one of the top teams from Washington at the University of Oregon over the weekend.

Gatti led the way with seven goals and captured six draws in an entertaining, fast-paced contest. Byrne had six goals and Morford had four and a pair of assists to lead the scoring.

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