Lions go 10-0-0, open playoffs Saturday

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Ryan Barber and the West Linn boys soccer team kept their momentum going heading into the playoffs with a 2-0 win over Clackamas to cap a perfect run through the TRL. Few Three Rivers League boys soccer teams, if any, have been able to pull off what West Linn has achieved this regular season.

The Lions ran through the perennially tough conference undefeated and untied and, on its senior night last week against Clackamas, posted another shutout, running that streak to nine consecutive games.

In league play this year West Linn yielded just one goal, a trend the team hopes to continue as it opens the playoffs Saturday against North Salem.

“That's probably the stat I'm most proud of. That's pretty ridiculous,” coach Greg Bean said.

West Linn's back line has been a rock for the entire season, led by Ryan Klose, Ben Sebastian, Blake Hepburn and Lucas Evans, all playing in front of standout goalie Zach Nelson.

The defense has bolstered the entire team's confidence and the Lions appear to be clicking on all cylinders as they take a No. 3 ranking in the state into the playoffs.

The Lions honored their nine seniors last week, giving all of them significant playing time and putting together another complete performance in a 2-0 win over Clackamas.

“I had a little anxiety over our senior night but there was no drop-off in play and we had really good community support,” Bean said.

West Linn scored both of its goals on corner kicks with Colton Hefty and Hepburn knocking in the tallies.

The Lions have competed in intra-squad games and have tried to keep things on an even keel during the layoff before the playoffs start.

“This team doesn't over-celebrate anything. We'll treat this Thursday and Friday just like a regular training session,” Bean said.

West Linn's showing this season marks an astounding rebound from 2012. Just last fall, the Lions were 3-6-1 in league and 4-9-1 overall, falling in a play-in game to end the season.

The Lions will now gear up for what they hope is a long and successful playoff run. West Linn opens up with a home game against North Salem, a team coming off a 2-1 win over Clackamas to play-in to the bracket.

West Linn will host a soccer doubleheader Saturday as the girls team earned the No. 16 seed overall and will host Westview.

The Lions finished the season with a 2-1 loss to league champion Clackamas last week, taking second place in the TRL with a 4-3-3 record.

Westview was fourth in the Metro League and knocked off Reynolds 5-0 in a play-in game. Earlier in the year, Westview beat Clackamas 1-0 but lost to Canby 3-0.

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