Lake Oswego boys polo finishes fifth at Class 6A state tournament
The Lake Oswego boys water polo team battled all year long.
It wasn't always easy in the powerful Three Rivers League — home of the state-champion Lakeridge boys team as well as runner-up Newberg — but the Lakers just kept playing, growing and battling.
And by year's end, the team's hard work paid off big-time.
The Lakers opened the Class 6A state playoffs back on Nov. 9 with a win over Westview and a loss to Newberg in the state quarterfinals. Then, playing at Corvallis' Osborn Aquatic Center on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15-16, Lake Oswego put together two straight wins to close out its season and finish fifth in the state.
"Everyone feels great about the team's performance," said Lake Oswego first-year coach Bryan Hill. "There is some regret that we weren't seeded a little higher to potentially make a run at third place, but the boys had a great tournament and it definitely felt like a whole season of work coming together for our fifth-place win."
The seventh-ranked Lakers opened their weekend with a 12-6 win over No. 6 David Douglas in the fifth-place semifinal on Friday, then beat ninth-ranked South Eugene 11-7 on Saturday to seal up fifth place.
"I haven't been with the program for very long, but I believe this is one of our strongest finishes," Hill said, adding that — with only two seniors and no juniors in the lineup — "we are likely to be as strong or stronger for the next two years and beyond."
Regarding his team's two wins in Corvallis, Hill said the Lakers used a combination of fast starts and solid defense to set the tone.
"(The) first key was coming out and starting each game strong — we have had a tendency in the past to not start well and have to climb back," Hill said. "(The) second key was simply playing as a team — we had goals from all of our starters, as well as defensive plays and steals from a range of players."
Lake Oswego 12, David Douglas 6: The Lakers came out strong against David Douglas, taking a 3-1 lead in the first quarter and extending their edge to 5-1 at the half, with Ty Davis scoring twice in the opening period while the team's other goals came from Carlo Cremona, David Morgan and Max Spurr.
At the same time, the Lakers' defense — led by goalie Lincoln Buckner — limited David Douglas to just a single goal by Dawson Brummett.
While the second half was more competitive — Lake Oswego outscored the Scots 4-2 in the third quarter and tied them 3-3 in the fourth — the Lakers never allowed David Douglas closer than four goals along the way.
Davis and Spurr tied for team-high scoring honors in the win with four goals apiece, while Cremona and Morgan added two each. Brummett led David Douglas with four scores.
Lake Oswego 11, South Eugene 7: In the fifth-place contest, the Lakers started fast again, led by just a single goal at halftime, then put the Axemen away with a 3-0 edge in the third quarter.
Davis and Hayden Mills staked their team to a 2-0 first-quarter lead, with Buckner and the Laker "D" pitching a shutout.
But South Eugene rallied back within 5-4 at the half behind three Kai Schindler scores, while the Lakers countered with two Morgan goals and another from Cremona.
Undaunted, Lake Oswego took over for good with a 3-0 edge in the third quarter, getting scores from Cremona, Hudson Schneider and Mills to push ahead 8-4. The Lakers then held their own in that 3-3 fourth quarter, getting two more scores by Cremona and another from Spurr.
Cremona led the Lakers with four goals, while Morgan and Mills added two each. For South Eugene, Schindler scored six of his team's seven goals.
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