The chances were few and far between for the Lakeridge girls soccer team on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
The Pacers, facing defending Three Rivers League champion West Linn on its home field in both teams' TRL opener, managed just one shot the entire game against the talented Lions.
But on Tuesday, that was enough.
Lakeridge senior forward Megan McCormack made the most of that one chance, connecting for the game's lone goal near the end of the first half, a score that eventually stood up to beat West Linn 1-0 at West Linn High School.
"It's huge for us. We're very, very excited about this outcome," said McCormack. "Coming into this game, we knew we had a lot of pressure on us to bring our best … and put it all out there, so we came in a little nervous, but we were determined to get the result we wanted."
"This was our first league game, so this was like the biggest game," said Lakeridge sophomore forward Tessa French. "And West Linn, they're one of the best teams in our league, so it was so inspirational winning this game for the future of our season. I feel like we are going to do really good."
With the win — fourth-ranked Lakeridge's third straight and eighth without a loss — the Pacers improved to 1-0 in TRL play and 6-0-2 overall. No. 10 West Linn, meanwhile, saw its four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 0-1 in league and 5-2-1 overall.
For West Linn, which had four shots and goal and held a 5-0 edge in corner kicks on Tuesday, the result was difficult to take.
"Soccer is a funny game," said West Linn coach Lauren Pyrch. "I'm not even going to say which team was better. They got an opportunity down there and they took advantage of it so give them credit where credit is due."
While both defenses held the upper hand throughout Tuesday's contest, the Lions created more of the game's limited offensive chances in the night's first 40 minutes. West Linn had six shots in the opening half — two on goal — with the best of those coming when Asia Hardin set up teammate Emily Baltazar for a one-on-one chance against Lakeridge goalkeeper Abby Presnell near the left post, but Baltazar's shot missed wide left in the 28th minute to leave the score at 0-0.
But Lakeridge broke through with its lone shot — and the game's lone goal — with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first half when Payton Moffenbeier crossed the ball into the West Linn penalty box from the left side. The ball landed among a crowd of players five yards out of the Lions' goal, and while Lakeridge's Sara Wittig got knocked out of position by West Linn defenders Logan Murai, Grace Winjum, Cami Fulcher and Maddie Gross, McCormack stepped into the void and hit a right-footed shot past West Linn keeper Emily Weber for a 1-0 lead.
"It was just a big clutter of people and the ball came out to me and I pretty much just toe-poked it into the corner," McCormack said of her fifth goal of the season. "It was very exciting."
"It was an amazing goal. It was just that clutter of people and she put it there in the back of the net," French said. "The whole entire bench jumped. It was like a roller coaster. It was a roller coaster of emotion. We were all so excited when she got that in there."
The second half looked very much like the first, with both teams battling for possession in an evenly matched physical, aggressive battle. While the Pacers didn't manage a shot in the second half, they also didn't give up a goal, with Presnell and defenders Jolie Lathrop, Sydney Okoneski, Keely Lipp and Jenna Barouh allowing just two West Linn shots on goal in the game's final 40 minutes and stopping both.
The first of those was a Jill Brody shot with just eight minutes remaining to play, and the second an Abby Schmidt deflection in the final minute. The Lions also notched three of their five corner kicks and another two shots, but on this night, none of them found the Lakeridge net.
"We had plenty of chances so we'll work on it," Pyrch said, adding that Lakeridge's 1 for 1 marksmanship on the night "says a lot about soccer."
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