Lakeridge girls close Three Rivers play with 2-1 win over Tigard
You just knew this was going to be a tight game.
When the Lakeridge girls soccer team rolled into Tigard for its Three Rivers League finale, the two teams sat nearly side by side in the TRL standings and were Nos. 27-28 in the OSAA rankings.
The Pacers and Tigers did not disappoint, with the contest tied midway through the second half before Lakeridge scored the game-winner to post a 2-1 victory at Tigard High School.
"We just had to figure out how to play our own game and make sure to not play down to anyone else's level," said Lakeridge junior forward/midfielder Megan McCormack, who scored her team's first goal on Tuesday. "(We just had) to play our own game and play up to our own pace."
"We know we play a lot better when we play to feet, not balls in the air," said Lakeridge sophomore forward/midfielder Emily Bachman, who scored the game-winning goal with 17 minutes, 32 seconds left in the contest. "In the first half, in the first 10 minutes, were really strong, we were really communicating well. But then we really kind of lost that so we made that a goal at halftime, to just connect with each other and play our game that we know how to play."
With the win, the Pacers finished the 2018 TRL race in a fifth-place tie with Tualatin at 2-3-2, while their overall record improved to 5-6-2. Next up, Lakeridge will open the Class 6A state playoffs on Saturday against an opponent yet to be determined.
"We knew we needed to play hard if we wanted to get into the playoffs," said Lakeridge sophomore forward/midfielder Emma Krauss, who assisted on McCormack's goal. "I think if we just bring it in every game that we play and just play how we know how to play, we can win."
"If we play as a team and play our own game, we will definitely go far," McCormack added.
After a back-and-forth battle in the first 10 minutes of Tuesday's contest, the Pacers broke through for the game's first goal. Bachman started the scoring play with a long pass to Krauss on the right endline, and from there, she crossed the ball to McCormack who scored past Tigard senior keeper Natalie Carlson at the right post with 28:19 remaining in the first half.
While neither team scored again in the first half, the Tigers managed a quartet of shots in the final 19 minutes — the first from freshman Avery Alderman and the other three by sophomore Lydia Emory.
The Pacers, however, had the best chance in the remaining minutes of the first half, that coming when senior midfielder Farrah Tyler broke past the Tiger defense for a hard shot that ricocheted off the crossbar of the Tigard goal with 10 minutes left in the half.
Still down 1-0 at the start of the second half, the Tigers got even at 1-1 with 19:06 left in the game. There, sophomore forward Ajae Kadel made a run up the left seam, took a touch past the last Lakeridge defender, then beat charging freshman keeper Abby Presnell with a left-footed shot.
The Pacers, however, hardly blinked.
Instead, they answered 1:34 later when Bachman took the ball up the left sideline, cut toward the Tigard goal near the endline, then hit a low, angled shot past Carlson to the far post for the final 2-1 margin.
"Once they scored, it just fired us up to get more (goals) so we could finish it out strong," Krauss said.
Lakeridge's win was hardly safe, though. In the remaining time, Emory hit a 35-yard bomb that just caught the underside of the crossbar with 14:15 to go, and Kadel made a short run up the left side, split two Pacer defenders and saw her shot rebound off the bottom of the left post and out with 7:30 to play.
"The key for us … is just playing as a team and not as a bunch of individuals," Bachman said. "High school season is such a short season so we need to get to know each other and learn how we play and we've done a really good job of that. We've just got to carry that into our next few games, and hopefully, play with a lot more passion."