After a defensive struggle, the Pacers give up four goals in the final eight minutes

The Lakeridge boys soccer team saw its season end on a strange note in Eugene last Saturday. The Pacers battled a solid South Eugene team tooth and nail for more than 70 minutes. But the Axemen exploded for four goals in the final eight minutes to make an evenly matched game look like a rout.

“It was one of those things where you love the game of soccer but, at the end of a day like that, you hate it,” coach Erik Cronkrite said.

Lakeridge had more than a handful of very strong chances in the game, particularly in the first half.

“We had a few opportunities that were one versus the keeper and we couldn't find a way to score,” Cronkrite said.

Lakeridge had the better of the play in the first half and Cronkrite made a point of emphasizing that his team needed to keep its head up in the second half.

“In a battle like that our confidence was getting shorter and shorter when we couldn't score so I wanted us to stay in it mentally,” Cronkrite said.

The game looked like it might go into overtime but a brief lapse on defense with eight minutes to play allowed the Axemen to knock in the contest's first goal.

It was a deflating goal but Lakeridge upped its efforts on offense to try and counter quickly.

However, South Eugene responded with another goal which opened the floodgates.

“Clearly you have to press when you're down and we left ourselves exposed a bit,” Cronkrite said.

When the dust settled, South Eugene had put away four goals to advance to the next round.

“I was pretty confident heading into the game but it's just kind of been a Jekyll and Hyde season for us,” Cronkrite said.

Lakeridge graduates 11 seniors this year but do have a solid core returning.

“We're losing some key players up the spine. The challenge will be how much our underclassmen commit,” Cronkrite said.

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