Westview boys edge past Lake Oswego 1-0 in quarterfinals
Tick, tick, tick.
It was only a matter of time before the Westview boys soccer team finally went off on Saturday, breaking through for a second-half goal to beat Lake Oswego 1-0 in the Class 6A state quarterfinals at Westview High School.
"Every game is just win or lose, so we came out there and tried to get it," said Westview senior Alex Monroy, who scored the game's lone goal midway through the second half.
We knew "this team was definitely beatable and if we played (the second half) hard, we could have the next two days to recover," added Wildcat senior captain Nicholas Younkins. "We knew we just had to come out and play the final 40 minutes hard and then we'd have a great night."
With the win, the second-ranked Wildcats — the Metro League co-champions — won for the sixth straight time, extended their unbeaten streak to nine games and lifted their season record to 15-1-1. Next up, Westview will host No. 3 Grant (13-0-3 overall after finishing second in the Portland Interscholastic League) in the state semifinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
"I think that should be a good game so I can't wait for that," Monroy said.
"We know a lot of the kids on Grant so I'm excited to get after it against them," Younkins added.
No. 10 Lake Oswego, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak snapped and ended its season with an overall record of 9-4-3 after finishing fourth in the Three Rivers League.
"I think we went toe-to-toe with the team that's probably going to win it all," said Lake Oswego senior forward Robert Vogel. "But sometimes things just don't go your way."
"In the first half, we really came in ready to play against one of the best teams that, I think, there is in the state," added senior forward Chase Cumberland. "I think we were all super ready for this and ready to give it all and I think we did that."
While neither team scored in Saturday's first half, it wasn't for lack of opportunity. The Wildcats got the first meaningful chance of the game when junior Akiva Wickramanratna sent a bouncing cross into the Lake Oswego penalty box 14 minutes into the contest and Monroy ran onto the ball. From there, Monroy hit a short shot to the right post that forced Lake Oswego senior keeper Griffin Chambers to make a diving save.
Next, it was the Lakers' turn, with junior Chase Hoffinger sending a vertical pass through the Westview defense to Cumberland in the center of the field near the top of the Wildcats' penalty box. Cumberland got a one-on-one chance against charging Wildcat keeper Davis King, but his right-footed shot slid off-target and missed left of the goal with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
The Wildcats also saw an apparent score waived off due to an offside call and another long, bouncing shot nearly get past Chambers when he mistimed his leap late in the opening half.
After an extremely competitive and combative first half, the Wildcats turned up the heat big-time in Saturday's final 40 minutes. While Lake Oswego's Ryan Seaman notched a strong shot that King smothered early in the second half, the Wildcats controlled possession and created one solid scoring chance after another the rest of the way.
Westview's Ryan Park missed a point-blank shot just four minutes into the half, Zachary Velasco blasted a hard drive into the side of the Lake Oswego net two minutes later, and Monroy's short-range header forced Chambers to make a leaping stop with 29 minutes left in the game.
After another strong Seaman miss, Westview's Takumi Jankovsky nearly scored on a free kick with 23 minutes left, and Park missed an open-net opportunity off a Dane Kiger cross one minute later.
But finally, with 21:18 remaining in the game, Jankovsky pushed the ball up the left sideline, then took a long shot that was deflected by the Lake Oswego defense and bounced to the other side of the goal where Monroy knocked it home with a sliding kick at the right post.
"Honestly, I thought (Jankovsky) was going to cross it, but then he shot it and coach always says 'Just follow up the rebound" so I was there at the right place at the right time," Monroy said. "It felt the best."
"They have a strong team so we knew it was going to be a close game," Younkins said. "It was just whoever was going to get that scrappy goal was going to win."
Along with its solid possession and continued pressure the rest of the way, Westview made sure that Monroy's goal stood up and left with the "W," as well as the cherished semifinal berth.
"Before this year, we hadn't made it past the second round for like six years, so to (beat Sunset in the second round) was just super exciting," Younkins said. "We felt like we got past a cursed round so now … we can just play. Anything else we get from here is just like a bonus."
For the Lakers, Saturday's loss stung, but didn't take away from the team's strong season.
"I felt that game was going into extra time, but sometimes it's a cruel game," Vogel said. "I'd be amazed if that team doesn't win it all and we matched up against them pretty good."
"In my four years of varsity, this is the strongest and most technical group I've been a part of, and if some things had gone our way this game, I think we could have won it all, too, and I'm confident in saying that," Cumberland added.