This one meant a lot.
The West Linn boys lacrosse team's 10-8 win over Lakeridge on Friday, April 26, gave the Lions a key win over a Three Rivers League arch-rival, helped it bounce back from a loss three days earlier and pushed the team back near the top of the TRL standings.
For Lakeridge — which led 8-7 with 9:09 left in the game — the Pacers saw their four-game winning streak snapped and got knocked out of the TRL lead.
"We weren't mentally ready," said Lakeridge senior Thiago Achar-Winkels, who scored twice in the loss. "We weren't mentally ready in our meetings but it's all mistakes that we can fix. We can look back and watch film and know what to fix and just come back and be ready."
"It was just a complacent game for us," added Lakeridge sophomore Cody Hart, who also scored twice. "It was tough. Practice was slow, lazy and it showed on the field."
With the win, th Lions improved to 3-1 in TRL play and 10-2 overall. Lakeridge, which added a 16-2 win over Central Catholic on Saturday, moved to 3-1 in league and 11-3 overall.
"It's outstanding," said West Linn junior Jack Johnson, who scored both his goals in the final 8 minutes, 41 seconds of the game. "The team, coming back from (a 14-9 April 29 loss to) Lake Oswego like that is something that I never expected. It was just amazing to see the team spirit like that."
"It feels great to get them back after last year," said West Linn senior Ross Scott, who led all scorers with five goals. "But it's just the first league game so we've got to stay focused."
Most of the game was a back-and-forth struggle that was highlighted by physical play, three lead changes and six ties. Combined, neither team scored more than two goals in a row and each team managed two straight goals twice each in the contest.
The Pacers led 7-5 late in the third quarter — on the second of two straight scores by senior Hunter Daskalos — but the Lions outscored them 5-3 over the game's final 14:41 to pull away.
West Linn senior Michael Stell started his team's comeback when he scored at the end of the third quarter, and Scott got his team even at 7-7 when Stell rebounded a missed shot by Lucas Hockman and assisted Scott's score 1:17 into the final period.
Achar-Winkels gave Lakeridge its final lead at 8-7 when he took a pass from Ty DeLancellotti and hit a left-handed shot from 10 yards out with 9:09 remaining in the contest.
But the Lions took over down the stretch, using a 3-0 scoring edge over the final 8:41 to pull away. Jackson started that stretch with a pair of scores, first connecting from the right side to tie the game at 8-8 while being knocked onto his back. Jackson then scored again 2:49 later intercepting a Lakeridge pass and scoring in an open net to give his team a 9-8 lead with 5:52 left in the game.
West Linn junior Ethan Loun added the insurance goal with 2:11 left on the clock when he rebounded a deflected shot by Ross and scored on an overhand shot from the top of the 8-meter arc.
Lakeridge turned the ball over on its next possession, Hart ricocheted his team's last shot off the West Linn goal with 1:09 remaining, and when the Pacers turned the ball over again, the Lions ran out the clock on their victory.
"I was really proud of that defense stepping up for us there and getting some huge defensive plays at the end," Scott said. "Shout out to our defense, particularly Eli Thayer — he had a great game."
"It was great. I'm speechless right now," Johnson said.
On their side, the Pacers left determined to learn from their loss and improve.
"We are still 3-1 in league so we've just got to keep our heads up," Achar-Winkels said. "Last year, they had one win and we had one win, so tonight, we both just came out and tried to get that 'W.' We've just got to keep our heads up and focus on our next game and go on from there."
"Ultimately, as we go down the road, we'll use our experience and our game plan and play more as a team and play more together," Hart said. "This is a minor setback. We'll bounce back."
Daskalos led his team with three goals in the loss.
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