Lakeridge boys soccer battles, but falls to Tigard 4-0
It hasn't all been flying header goals and three-goal wins for the Lakeridge boys soccer team this year.
The Pacers opened the new season with a youthful, revamped lineup and a new head coach, and as a result, there have been some bumps along the road.
But say this about the 2019 Pacers — there's no quit in them.
Lakeridge proved that again on Thursday, Oct. 4, when the Pacers pushed Three Rivers League-leading Tigard for 80 minutes before finally falling 4-0 at Lakeridge High School.
"They're the reigning champions from last year so we knew it was going to be a challenge coming in," said sophomore midfielder Ryan Sze. "We just wanted to show them what we could do, get our energy focused and go out there and try our best, surprise them maybe."
"I feel like the boys worked really hard," added senior midfielder Amed Carvajal. "I feel like we are a solid team and we can play the ball on the ground and do combinations. It's just that extra step of finishing the games and finishing our chances that we have to work on."
With the loss — the Pacers' third straight — 44th-ranked Lakeridge fell to 1-5 and sixth place in the TRL and 2-6 overall. Eighth-ranked Tigard, meanwhile, won for the sixth straight time and improved to 6-0 in TRL play and 7-1 overall.
While the Pacers failed to score against Tigard, they also kept the talented Tigers at bay for much of the game's first half, with Lakeridge junior defenders Chace Koth and Trevor Pederson, and sophomore Reagan McDowell doing the heavy lifting against Tigard's attack.
And midway through the opening half, the Pacers very nearly took the lead when Sze ran onto a cross from senior teammate Gavin Abbott and headed it just over the outstretched hands of Tigard goalkeeper Jackson Cleaver and over the crossbar.
Tigard then broke through for the game's first goal when Rasheed Tarhuni sent a corner kick into the Lakeridge penalty box from the left side. Teammate Jarred Debban ran it down at the far post and headed it into the goal for a 1-0 lead with 17 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the half.
The Tigers were back in goal again nine minutes later when Trevor Smith took a free kick from 17 yards out of goal on the right and drove the ball into the left side of the goal with 8:42 remaining in the opening half.
Lakeridge managed a couple shots late in the half, one by Koth that missed right with six minutes to go and the other from junior William Flanagan that sailed wide right to leave Tigard's lead at 2-0 at the break.
"I think that's something we should work on — finishing those chances that we get will be essential," Sze said.
The two teams traded possession at the start of the second half, with Tigard getting a corner kick 17 minutes into the period and Lakeridge a miss from junior Liam Yaker off a Sze cross three minutes later.
Then, with 17:48 to go in the match, Smith set up for a free kick from the middle of the field 40 yards away from Lakeridge's goal. Smith took two touches upfield, then blasted a shot to the right post for a 3-0 Tigard lead.
The Pacers tried to fight back on shots by McDowell (it was stopped by Cleaver with 16 minutes remaining) and Yaker (he missed high with 10 minutes to play), but failed to score.
Tigard then added its fourth goal when Nicholas Leinberger drove a shot off the crossbar that ricocheted into the net with 5:38 left on the clock.
Lakeridge's last-gasp chances came from George Kohnstamm, first on a missed attempt with 3:50 to play, and after a Tigard foul just outside the penalty box, getting a free kick that was blocked with 2:30 to go.
Sze and Carvajal both had their ideas about what the Pacers might have done differently to better deal with the Tigers.
"I think maybe because we're a small team, we could have kept the ball on the ground more, because when the ball was in the air, they were going to win those more of the time," Sze said.
"If the defenders could have won their one-on-ones, it could have been a 2-0 game instead of a 4-0 game," Carvajal said. "But at the end of the day, they were the better team."
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