After a 4-0 start in non-league play, West Linn falls to Oregon City in its league opener

West Linn's girls soccer team has been off to a blistering start this season, posting a perfect 4-0 record in the preseason. But, on Tuesday, in its league opening contest against Oregon City, the Lions ran into their first real adversity of the season.

The Lions dropped a 2-1 decision to the Pioneers in a frustrating contest.

Against the physical Pioneers, West Linn appeared to be in control early, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first few minutes of play.

But Oregon City rallied back. The Pioneers knotted the score a few minutes later and then started to exert their style of play on the Lions.

Oregon City is known for its aggressive and direct brand of soccer and West Linn had trouble making early adjustments.

As a result, the Pioneers had their share of possession and a few more scoring chances in the first 40 minutes of play.

“The girls played with confidence. They just hadn't seen that style of play this year and it was very disruptive,” coach Kelli Cronkrite said.

Late in the half, Oregon City knocked in the go-ahead goal and took a 2-1 lead heading into the break.

West Linn settled down during halftime and made a concerted effort to get back to its style of soccer. The Lions were more in control in the second half but Oregon City continued to have answers, particularly on defense.

West Linn upped its pressure, searching for the equalizer and the Lions also ran into a bit of bad luck. West Linn hit the frame twice, including on a shot by Katie Moller that hit the crossbar and ricocheted straight down.

Late in the contest, Oregon City focused even more intently on defense, sending players back and refusing to give up good looks at the net.

When the final whistle sounded, West Linn had been dealt its first loss of the season.

“The girls were disappointed but our message was that our goals this season aren't about beating specific teams, they're about playoff positioning and peaking in November,” Cronkrite said.

And Cronkrite is still pleased with how the team is playing early in the season and is confident the Lions can regroup quickly with a showdown against Lake Oswego looming tonight (Thursday). The Lakers knocked off Lakeridge 1-0 on Tuesday.

“The team is very receptive of all our coaching and it's a process. We've got to learn and move forward,” Cronkrite said.

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