Lakeridge boys soccer upsets Lake Oswego 1-0
What's the first rule of rivalry games?
Throw out the records and the rankings — you never know what's going to happen.
The Lakeridge boys soccer team lived that out in real time on Tuesday, Oct. 22, scoring once in the second half and making that goal stand up — barely — to beat Lake Oswego 1-0 in Three Rivers League play at Lake Oswego High School.
"I (am) so happy. It's one of the best feelings ever," said Lakeridge junior goalkeeper Aaron Rodenkirch, who survived three dangerous Lake Oswego shots in the game's final three minutes to preserve his team's win. "That was amazing."
"I feel really good," said Lakeridge junior defender/midfielder Gavin Abbott, who scored his team's lone goal. "I think collectively as a team, our communication was better. We got the ball and moved it around better."
With the win, the 46th-ranked Pacers won for the first time in seven games and improved to 2-7-1 in the TRL and 3-8-1 overall. No. 32 Lake Oswego, meanwhile, lost for the third straight time — all 1-0 setbacks — and fell to 5-6-0 in league and 7-6-0 overall.
"We came out to play and they came out to play to and it doesn't matter where you're seeded in the state when it's a rivalry like this," said Lake Oswego senior forward Aaron Rudder. "You have to come out and take care of each opportunity you get and we struggled in the final third tonight."
"We had a great effort and we really played pretty well — we just had trouble finishing and that was unlucky for us," said Lake Oswego junior forward Eric Seaman.
Neither team created much in the way of scoring opportunities in the first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game, but the Lakers very nearly took the lead when Seaman attacked the Pacer goal with 17 minutes to go, then slid a pass to his right to sophomore Colin Branam for a short-range shot stopped by Rodenkirch.
The Pacers' first real chance to score came in the final two minutes of the opening half when junior Liam Yaker took a dangerous shot following a rebound that forced Lake Oswego senior keeper Johann Shahalami to make a diving save.
While the pace picked up in the second half, neither team scored for a very long time. The Lakers produced seven shots on goal and five corner kicks in the final 40 minutes, while the Pacers put together three shots of goal and had one corner kick.
Then, in the final 15 minutes of the contest, Lakeridge sophomore midfielder Ryan Sze collected the ball in a crowd 12 yards out of goal and knocked a shot off the center of the Laker crossbar. The ball bounced out to Abbott and he drove it between a pair of defenders with 14 minutes, 28 seconds left in the game to give Lakeridge a 1-0 lead.
"I wasn't expecting him to shoot that," Abbott said. "I wasn't expecting that — it was off the bar and I just pounced on the rebound. I had a tiny window and I squeezed it in there."
The Lakers did not go away, however. They pressed the Pacers for the remainder of the game and created three significant chances in the final three minutes. First, junior Roman Sinkus took a 20-yard shot that forced Rodenkirch to leap and tip the ball over the goal with three minutes to play.
Then, on the ensuing corner kick from senior Chris Anissian, Seaman ran onto the kick and struck a header that bounced off the crossbar and out.
And finally, with 25 seconds remaining on the clock, the Lakers sent a long free kick into the Lakeridge penalty box and Rodenkirch smothered it — barely — at the right post just as Seaman and Sinkus arrived.
"I was freaking out," Rodenkirch said. "That was probably the best two minutes I've ever played, just save after save."
"We almost put them away in the final minute and there was some discussion among the boys if (the final shot) went in and it was close, but the refs didn't figure it was in and that's all that matters," Rudder said.
"Once you beat them the first time, it's always harder the second time," Seaman said. "They always come out and they want to beat you because it's a rivalry."
For the Pacers, the win over the Lakers meant everything.
"This is definitely a confidence booster, for sure, going into our final two games against Tualatin and Tigard," Abbott said.
"I think that this game really meant a lot to us so we couldn't lose it," Rodenkirch said.
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