Lake Oswego takes on West Linn for the third straight year

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lake Oswego's Madison Focht fires a shot past the OES goalie during Monday's state semifinal game. Focht had five goals in the contest to lead the Lakers. The Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team rolled into another state championship appearance Monday, downing OES 15-7 in the state semifinals at Tualatin High School.

With the win, the Lakers set up a showdown with West Linn for the state championship which was held Wednesday night. The Lakers and Lions split a pair of games this year and have split the past two state titles.

Despite the relatively lopsided final score, OES gave the Lakers a few problems but, every time the Aardvarks would make a run, Lake Oswego had an answer.

“They're a fast and athletic team. It was nice to have a tough game heading into the finals,” coach Lauren Anderson said.

It appeared that Lake Oswego was primed to run away with the game as the Lakers scored the first four goals of the contest in the first seven minutes of play, getting tallies from Lexi Cheetham, Madeline Reece, Madison Focht and Lilly Newman.

But OES would battle back. After getting its first goal of the game, the Aardvarks received a free draw following a penalty and scored 24 second later to make it 4-2.

Lake Oswego would rebuild its lead with a pair of goals from Focht before OES responded again with two more to cut the lead to 6-4 with 7:41 to play.

The final minutes of the first half would be crucial and Lake Oswego was dominant in that period, controlling the possession and scoring four more goals, including a shot by Shannon Fender with just five seconds remaining to make it 10-4, giving the Lakers a cushion.

Focht had four first-half goals and was able to find some space against the OES defense as it struggled to contain the Lakers' many threats.

“We've been waiting for that for a while from Madison. The nice thing about our team is you really can't key on one or two people,” Anderson said.

OES still wasn't out of it, however. The Aardvarks started to control draws and possession in the opening minutes of the second half, scoring a pair of goals to make it 10-6. However, Lake Oswego would give up just one goal in the final 18 minute of play.

Less than two minutes after the lead was cut to two, Cheetham scored off a penalty. The Laker defense then buckled down and was able to put the game away.

Lake Oswego scored four times in the final five minutes to put things on ice and goalie Riley Hertford had a nice all-around game with a handful of strong saves and some impressive clears.

The Lakers faced West Linn for the state title Wednesday night but results were not available at press time.

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