Lakeridge boys polo wins twice in playoffs to earn semifinal berth
The dream is alive for the Lakeridge boys water polo team.
And now, the Pacers are going to try and grab it.
Lakeridge won twice in last week's Oregon High School Water Polo state playoffs, and in the process, won a berth in this week's state semifinals. Next up, the second-ranked Pacers (13-2 overall after finishing second in the Three Rivers League) will face No. 3 Southridge in the state semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton.
If the Pacers win, they will play again in the state championship game — against either top-ranked TRL champion Newberg or No. 4 Westview — at 7 p.m. Saturday at Tualatin Hills. With a loss in its semi, Lakeridge would play in the third-place game at 1:45 p.m. Saturday.
"As the second seed in the tournament, the Pacer boys are determined to revisit the championship game that they lost last year," said Lakeridge coach Morgan Rauch, recalling her team's 9-7 loss to Newberg in the 2017 title contest.
In last week's playoffs at Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis, the Pacers knocked off No. 15 Tigard 18-7 and Lincoln 20-7 on Friday.
Lakeridge 18, Tigard 7: In their playoff opener against Tigard, the Pacers dropped an 11-goal, first-quarter bomb on Tigard to take total control.
"The Lakeridge boys handily controlled both their playoff and first-round state matchups," Rauch said. "Both games showed strong starts with counterattacks each possession and defense aimed at smothering their opponent's offense."
Lakeridge's Grant Lautze and Oscar Loureiro Alvarez set the pace early with three goals each in the opening quarter while teammate Torin Ferguson added two more.
The Pacers eased off the accelerator after that, but still led 14-4 at the half and 17-5 after three periods.
For the game, Lautze, Loureiro Alvarez and Ferguson scored three times apiece, and Brody Veater and Zack Candau each scored twice. For Tigard, Uros Nenadic scored three times to lead his team.
Lakeridge 20, Lincoln 7: The Pacers started fast again in their win over Lincoln, racing out to an 8-2 first-quarter lead, pushing their edge to 12-3 at the half, then closing the contest with another 8-2 outburst in the fourth quarter.
"What makes the Pacers such a threat is that each player in the starting lineup is an offensive threat," Rauch said. "In the game against Lincoln, all starters scored early in the game and proved to be unstoppable."
Loureiro Alvarez was tough again vs. Lincoln, scoring three times in the first quarter and finishing the game with four goals, while teammates Veater, Thomas Gooding and Lautze scored three goals apiece, and Ferguson and Noa Bothe each had two.