by: MATTHEW SHERMAN Payton Germain looks to hold onto the ball while running past a Tigard defender in West Linn’s win over the Tigers last week.

After playing what coach Mark Flood said was one of its better games of the season in a win against Tigard, the West Linn boys lacrosse team's season came to a sudden and unexpected end on Tuesday in an 8-7 loss to Wilsonville.

West Linn could never get on track against the Wildcats but still found itself in position to win, holding a one-goal lead with 90 seconds to play.

The Lions rallied back from more than one deficit to claim a slim 7-6 advantage and had the ball in the closing minutes of the game. Despite a lackluster showing, West Linn appeared primed to survive and advance to the quarterfinals against Jesuit.

But a turnover gave Wilsonville the ball back and the Wildcats promptly went down the field and scored. Wilsonville then regained possession and tossed in the winning score with just 12 seconds remaining.

"I can't remember the last time that we had so many mental mistakes in a game. It was just one of those nights and I think bad plays were contagious," Flood said.

Wilsonville jumped on West Linn early, taking the lead in the first quarter before the Lions rallied back to knot the score at the half.

"I think in the back of our minds we figured we were fine at that point," Flood said.

The Wildcats would go ahead again in the third quarter before West Linn bounced back and would eventually take the lead early in the fourth period.

"When we had the ball and did what we were supposed to do, we were fine. As poorly as we'd played we were still in position to win," Flood said.

The Wildcats stayed resilient however and found a way to get the ball back to come away with perhaps the biggest win in their program's history.

"I just don't think our kids expected to be put under the type of pressure that they were," Flood said.

The loss followed an impressive 11-4 win on the road over a solid Tigard team last week. The Tigers held their own but a strong defensive effort by the Lions to close out the game sealed the win.

West Linn slowly built a lead throughout the game before Tigard started to chip away.

"Our kids were doing the right things and not forcing it. They were seeing spaces and we were really happy," Flood said.

The Lions led 7-4 after the third quarter but didn't give up a goal in the final period. West Linn dominated possession and calmly put the game away to advance.

Brandon Schutzler scored five goals in the game and Christian Wilson added a hat trick to the effort. Kevin Cathcart had a goal to go along with a game-high three assists.

West Linn will graduate a handful of key seniors this year but the Lions will return a strong contingent of this year's young squad next spring.

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