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Lions earn season sweep of Lakeridge


West Linn downs the Pacers in another one-goal thriller

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - West Linn's boys lacrosse team celebrates in the moments following its 6-5 victory over Lakeridge at home Tuesday.West Linn's boys lacrosse team edged out Lakeridge for the second time in less than two weeks Tuesday this time at home 6-5, all but wrapping up the league title and giving the team additional confidence as it closes out the regular season.

In two contests this season, it's apparent that very little separates Lakeridge and West Linn this year. Both teams play swarming defense and are acutely aware of the others' strengths and weaknesses.

The difference in two razor-thin decisions this year and, in fact, in many of West Linn's games this season, has been the Lions' poise in the fourth quarter.

Tuesday, West Linn and Lakeridge were only separated by more than a goal on two occasions and, both times, the trailing team responded with a goal less than two minutes later.

Lakeridge, eager to atone for a loss on its home field, got off to a quick start. After both teams struggled with turnovers to open the game, the Pacers scored twice in a little more than a minute to grab an early 2-0 advantage.

West Linn responded quickly, scoring less than a minute later on a hard shot by midfielder Ryan Lonsway.

Having fought off the Pacers' emotional start to the game, West Linn tied the game in the opening minute of the second quarter. At the tail-end of a man-up opportunity, Ryan Klose found the back of the net to knot the game.

The final 11 minutes of the second quarter were a showcase of each team's defense. While each goalie had a solid save or two, good scoring chances were simply hard to come by.

Both squads worked the ball around patiently but the score remained tied 2-2 at the break.

Lakeridge would regain the advantage early in the third quarter but the Lions were quick to respond again. After Lonsway hit the pipe with a shot, Jacob Taylor received a pretty pass from Ian Anderson for a goal.

The Pacers came back a little over a minute later with a score from close range to go up 4-3 but, again, West Linn had an answer. This time it was Karter Ferrin with a well-placed shot to even the score again.

Late in the quarter, confusion on a referee's call over possession gave Lakeridge a quick start while the Lions were substituting and a clean look at a go-ahead goal.

However, West Linn goalie Will Strickland came up with a crucial save and the game remained tied with one quarter to play.

The Lions were stellar on the draw again for most of the night with Dylan Tuor winning the majority of the face-offs.

West Linn hit the pipe again early in the quarter and received a pair of man-up opportunities that were thwarted by the Lakeridge defense.

But, with 5:17 to play in the game, the score was broken on a pass from Graeme Henderson to Klose for a goal.

Penalties hurt Lakeridge in the final quarter as West Linn quickly received another man-up chance and, this time, it was able to convert.

Klose scored again on a pass from Cooper Hill to give West Linn its first two-goal lead of the day.

Lakeridge wasn't finished though, scoring a little more than a minute later to set up a wild finish.

Lakeridge regained possession but West Linn was able to force a turnover that was scooped up by Colin Squires.

The Lions were then able to play keep-away and chew up clock late in the contest before a turnover and a clear by the Pacers gave them the ball with eight seconds to play after calling a time-out.

Lakeridge set up its final possession and got off a clean shot, but Strickland came up with one final save to preserve the narrow win.

West Linn has three league games remaining against opponents it has already beaten this year and a non-league game at home against Bainbridge Island Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Lions are currently ranked No. 2 in the state only behind unbeaten OES while the Pacers are ranked No. 3. That could set up an unfortunate meeting between West Linn and Lakeridge in the semifinals if the rankings hold although OES closes the regular season with games against Lincoln and Central Catholic.