Draw against Milwaukie ends Lions playoff hopes
- Matthew Sherman
- West Linn Tidings - Sports
The Lions' girls soccer team was going to need some help just to earn a one-game playoff to make the postseason, but those hopes were dashed on Tuesday when Milwaukie played West Linn to a 2-2 tie.
On the coldest night of the season and on one of the most torn up fields in the league, the Lions dominated the majority of the game but couldn't take advantage of a number of first half opportunities that would have put the game away early.
'We still have a number of kids who are learning to become seasoned goal scorers and I think they're going to get there next year,' coach Joey Leonetti said.
West Linn started out on the right foot, scoring just eight minutes into the contest. Ali Vogt laid a through ball to Liz Sloop who fired a shot toward the goal.
The shot was deflected by a Milwaukie defender but still found the back of the net to give West Linn a 1-0 lead.
But just under 10 minutes later, Milwaukie knotted the score on a pretty shot to the far post that just cleared goalie Addie Brown's fingertips.
West Linn wasn't rattled, however. In fact, the Lions completely dominated the next 15 minutes of the game and had multiple chances on corner kicks and shots inside the box.
'During that stretch we missed at least three or four chances from right in front and if you score those you just run away with the game,' Leonetti said.
Milwaukie's goalie didn't help West Linn much either making eight saves on the night.
All evening, the Lions struggled to get into a rhythm as Milwaukie's field is narrow and full of divots, making clean passes and combinations difficult to execute.
'It's hard to build momentum over there and it's difficult to get anything going,' Leonetti said.
Finally, with five minutes to play in the first half, Taylor Brooke made a run down the left wing and hit a cross to Candace Williams. Williams then beat a defender and hit a shot to the near post, giving her team a lead again.
The Lions were feeling fairly confident at the half despite losing Vogt to an ankle injury.
'Ali's dealt with a bad ankle all year and losing her meant we had to switch some things up and move Taylor Brooke back to midfield,' Leonetti said.
West Linn continued to outplay Milwaukie for the majority of the game but, with just over five minutes to play in the contest, the Mustangs mustered a counter-attack.
A cross in the goal box made its way to an unmarked Milwaukie forward who hit in a shot from just six yards out to knot the score.
Although the Lions out-shot Milwaukie 18-8 in the contest they had to settle for the tie.
West Linn needed a victory in this game and one in its final game against Putnam on Thursday to have any shot at a playoff berth and this loss may sting just a little bit more with the knowledge that Lakeridge, one of the two teams the Lions could catch, lost to Clackamas on Tuesday.
This meant that a Lakeridge loss on Thursday, paired with a West Linn victory would have resulted in a one-game playoff for fourth place.
Thursday's game will be senior night for the Lions who are only graduating five players this year and hope to build on this season's success.
'I think the kids learned a lot this year. Now we're just hoping to go out on a strong note against Putnam,' Leonetti said.