Youth proves no handicap for Oregon City's girls lacrosse team

In what was expected to be a building year, the Oregon City Pioneers have had their share of success in Oregon high school girls lacrosse this RAFAEL GONZALEZ - Oregon City junior defender Lucy Kleiner pushes forward with the ball during a recent game with Century. The Pioneers routed the Jaguars 18-0, with senior captain Cassie Downing scoring six goals to head up the offense.

With two games remaining on the regular season, the Pioneers (10-4-0, 7-3-0) trailed only state powerhouses Lake Oswego (11-1-0, 9-1-0) and West Linn (13-1-0, 9-1-0) in the Three Rivers League standings, and they’d secured a bye and a home game in the upcoming state playoffs.

The Pioneers will host a second-round state playoff game at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, in the high school stadium.

“This young group has surprised everyone with what they’re able to do,” said Oregon City coach Dara Kramer. “I can’t wait to see them stretch their limits even further in the postseason.”

The Pioneers’ unexpected success has come despite one of the youngest lineups in the state.

Starters in last Friday’s league game with Lakeridge were: junior Gabby Amendolara in-goal; junior Lucy Kleiner and sophomores Claudia Hatch and Alyssa Schroeder on defense; senior Cassie Downing, junior Monica Curtis and sophomores Lindsi Peters and Rachel Tacha in the midfield; and senior Taylor Bass, junior Raegen Lyon and freshman Kimberly Peitz on offense.

The Pioneers on Friday defeated the Pacers for the second time this season, 16-11.

It was a team win, according to Kramer.

by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - DARA KRAMER“Senior captains Cassie Downing and Taylor Bass and sophomore Lindsi Peters helped set the pace of our settled offense, all making key plays,” Kramer said. “Lindsi scored a goal with a tenth of a second left in the first half to put us up by one, and the energy generated by that shot led us into a strong second half.

“Sophomore midfielder Jennifer Burke was five-for-five on her shots. She grabbed five draw controls, and dished out two assists. Her speed and power were key to our offensive transitions tonight.

“Lucy Kleiner came up with four outstanding interceptions that really moved the momentum of the game in our direction.”

Leading scorers on Friday were Downing with six goals, and Burke with five goals and two assists.

Bass and Peters had two goals each and Peitz made two assists.

Amendolara played in-goal the entire game and made six saves.

In other games this season, the Pioneers recorded wins over Jesuit (14-10), Clackamas (12-4 and 7-0), Liberty (17-2), St. Mary’s (16-3 and 16-6), Lakeridge (14-8), Canby (17-2) and Century (18-0).

They lost to Southridge (13-11), West Linn (19-2) and Lake Oswego (19-1) during the first half of the season.

They met the defending state champion Lions for a second time on April 28 and lost by only a 16-5 margin, narrowing West Linn’s victory margin from 17 to 11 goals.

Not counting the games against Lake Oswego and West Linn, the Pioneers are averaging 13.3 points an outing, to just 4.2 points by their opponents.

Oregon City was to conclude the regular season hosting Lake Oswego on May 5 and playing winless Canby (0-13-0, 0-11-0) tonight at 7 p.m., at Canby.

Three Rivers League teams include: Oregon City, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Lakeridge (7-6-0, 6-4-0), St. Mary’s (5-9-0, 3-7-0), Clackamas (3-11-0, 2-9-0) and Canby.

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