The Lakeridge High School girls soccer team had the effort.
The Pacers had the desire.
But they couldn't get the victory. A fired-up Tualatin squad made sure of that.
In a battle of the top two teams in the Three Rivers League standings, the Timberwolves came away with a 3-0 win over Lakeridge in a league showdown played Thursday, Oct. 24, at Tualatin High School.
"I really thought we put in a lot of effort," Lakeridge junior midfielder Bella Yannello said after the match. "I don't think this is reflective of our whole season."
Lakeridge moved to 3-2-1 in TRL matches with the loss and 8-2-3 overall, putting the Pacers in third place in the league standings.
"We were really hoping for a win, but just a second loss, that's not bad," Lakeridge junior defender Jenna Barouh said.
"It's just our second loss, and that's not too bad," Yannello agreed. "These past few matches have been a real battle."
With the victory, Tualatin improved to 5-0-1 in TRL play and 11-1-1 overall, putting the Wolves alone in first place in the league standings, four points ahead of second-place West Linn (4-2-0) with one match to play, meaning Tualatin has clinched the league title.
"This is everything," Tualatin senior midfielder Abby Borg, who scored one of the Wolves' three goals in the win. "This has been our goal since we ended last season. We established that early on. We knew what we wanted, and I'm really proud of the team. We pushed hard in practice, we pushed hard in every game, and we finished — we did it."
"This was huge," said Tualatin junior forward Cally Togiai, who scored the Wolves' first two goals. "We've been wanting to win league ever since this summer, and we've been working hard, and we finally achieved our goal. It feels good. I feel good, it was a team 'W.'"
Both squads looked ready from the start of the match. Tualatin got shots on goal from Borg and junior Lauren Oliva in the first seven minutes of the match, while Lakeridge got a shot on goal from junior Payton Moffenbeier.
Soon after, the Wolves were able to break through. Togiai, after taking a pass from Borg, hit a bending shot from 30 yards away on the right side. The ball, after taking a wicked, spinning bounce off the turf, bounded inside the left post of the Lakeridge goal, giving Tualatin a 1-0 lead with 24 minutes and 29 seconds left to play in the first half.
The Pacers tried to answer back, getting shots junior Sara Wittig, junior Emma Krauss and senior Rachel Mindt in the final 20 minutes of the first half. But the Tualatin defense, including senior Aden Lynch, freshman Maya Loudd, senior Darci Chamberlain and senior goalkeeper Sarah Hall, were up to the task, preserving the Wolves' 1-0 lead going into halftime.
Lakeridge came out aggressively to start the second half. The Pacers got a pair of shots on goal from Yannello as well as a shot by sophomore Tessa French in the first four minutes of the half but couldn't convert on any of those attempts.
The Wolves then took over again. Togiai upped the lead to 2-0 when she scored on a free kick from 28 yards away, blasting a line-drive attempt inside the right post of the Pacer goal with 28:20 remaining in the match.
Soon after, Tualatin got another shot on goal by junior Payton Wesson, with Pacer sophomore goalkeeper Abby Pressnell making the save.
But with 23:27 left to play, Tualatin came through again. Lynch, with the ball on the left side, hit a cross to the center. Togiai looked like she was going to take a shot, but let the ball go by right to Borg, who put her shot from 22 yards away, just over the reach of Pressnell and into the goal to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Wolves seemed to ride the momentum the rest of the way, getting close calls on shots by junior Alyvia Embree and sophomore Brook Burke before celebrating their 3-0 win and league championship.
For the match, Tualatin, had 15 shots on goal and four corner kicks. Lakeridge had seven shots on goal and two corner kicks.
"I thought we put up a good fight and we put it all out there," Barouh said. "All over the field, we really worked hard as a team and the result just wasn't in our favor tonight."
"We learn something from every match," Yanello said. "We're going to keep our heads high and see the best happen."
Lakeridge will finish its regular-season slate Tuesday with a 7 p.m. home match with Tigard.
"We'll definitely learn from this and come back strong for the playoffs, and hopefully, beat them," Barouh said. "For sure, we'd want a rematch."
The Class 6A state playoffs start on Nov. 2 with first-round matches.
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