by: VERN UYETAKE Lake Oswego’s John Murray winds up for a shot in the Lakers’ 5-2 victory over West Linn last Friday.

The Lake Oswego boys lacrosse team picked up an important victory over West Linn on Friday, using a terrific defensive performance to grind out a 5-2 victory.

It was a slow-paced game with each team emphasizing possession. While West Linn's defense was also stingy, the Lakers were able to keep the Lions scoreless for the entire first half and put the game away early in the fourth quarter.

Lake Oswego got on the board first on a nice shot from JC Vandenbrink.

The Lakers controlled most of the first quarter but goalie Nathan Duletzke turned away a pair of West Linn chances at the end of the period to keep the Lions off the board.

Lake Oswego's physical play forced a number of turnovers by the Lions in the second half and helped the Lakers continue to control possession.

But defense continued to rule the evening. Duletzke continued to make solid saves to frustrate West Linn and the Lakers wouldn't score again until late in the half.

With 1:45 remaining in the second quarter, Ryan Hearon hit Spencer Anderson for a goal and Lake Oswego led 2-0 at the break.

The Lakers had opportunities to pad their lead but West Linn's goalie was equally strong.

Lake Oswego would make it 3-0 midway through the third quarter when Vandenbrink scored again, this time off a pass by Ryan Silverstein.

West Linn would put some pressure on Lake Oswego toward the end of the quarter, scoring with two minutes to play and threatened to seize momentum in the game.

But, with just nine seconds left in the period, Billy Able put in a terrific shot off the post that gave the Lakers a three-goal lead again.

Able would score again just one minute into the fourth quarter which allowed Lake Oswego to take some time off the clock.

West Linn scored once more with three minutes left in the game but didn't get any closer.

It was an important victory for the Lakers as it keeps them just one win behind Lakeridge for first place in the league.

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Lakeridge also topped West Linn, taking them down 8-5 on Tuesday.

The Pacers' victory followed a tough 13-5 defeat over the weekend against No. 1 Lincoln.

"We laid an egg against Lincoln. We just didn't come ready to play," coach Curt Sheinin said.

But Lakeridge rebounded on Tuesday, getting an important league victory.

The Pacers' defense was terrific in holding West Linn to five goals. David Salamie had one of his better games of the season to back up a solid effort from the back line.

The first half went back and forth but the Pacers did a better job taking advantage of their opportunities on offense.

Midfielders David Swanson and Blake Dutton anchored the offense and helped Lakeridge take a 6-3 lead at the half.

The Pacers would hold West Linn scoreless in the third quarter and would go up 8-3 before the Lions mounted a rally.

West Linn continued to fight, playing its best lacrosse in the final quarter. The Lions scored twice and had a few more solid opportunities late in the game but the Pacers fended them off.

Lake Oswego and Lakeridge will face each other again in the rematch next Wednesday at Lake Oswego High School.

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