Lakeridge boys soccer blanks Lake Oswego 5-0 in Battle of the Lake
It doesn't matter what the records are.
It doesn't matter what the rankings say.
It doesn't matter that the tail end of the COVD-19 pandemic is still impacting lives.
No, indeed — when it's time for the Battle of the Lake, it's game on.
"It was a special night tonight, honestly," said Lakeridge sophomore forward Jacob Real, who assisted on his team's first two goals against Lake Oswego. "Lake Oswego is a very good team and it's a rivalry, so it's always going to be hard to play against them, but in the end, we prevailed."
"Every game is important, but to come out here and beat the other (Lake Oswego) school always feels great," said Pacer senior midfielder Ryan Sze, who scored one goal and assisted on another. "We've come a long way."
With the win, top-ranked Lakeridge's sixth straight, the Pacers improved to 4-0 in the Three Rivers League and 6-0 overall. Lake Oswego, meanwhile, lost for the fifth time in six games and fell to 1-4 in the TRL and 2-5 overall.
"Unluckily, we couldn't get the result we wanted, but we've got to keep our heads up," said Lake Oswego senior Alonso Eghdami. "We still have another eight games to go to make the (playoffs)."
"We still had to come in and compete and play our game and try to win no matter what people thought about us," added Laker junior A.J. Giacomini. "We're going to just keep looking forward and just keep playing our game no matter what."
After some back and forth during the game's first seven minutes, the Pacers broke through when sophomore Rafael Loyo played the ball up the left sideline to Real, who took it to the corner, then crossed it to junior Zac Levin, who left-footed a shot past LO goalkeeper Ira Smith 7 minutes, 40 seconds into the game.
Neither team scored again for the next 25 minutes — that despite shots on goal by Eghdami, Levin and Lakeridge senior Reagan McDowell — but the Pacers made it 2-0 when Real crossed the ball from the left side to the far post, where Sze collected it and scored with 7:50 to go in the half.
The Lakers rallied in the remaining minutes of the half, however, getting a dangerous angled free kick by senior Dylan Merrill with six minutes left, a free kick by sophomore Evan Huber stopped by Pacer senior keeper Brenden Braman with three minutes to go, and moments later, an Eghdami free kick to sophomore Jeb Scipio del Campo that forced another Braman save.
Both teams had solid scoring chances early in the second half, with Loyo missing high from point blank range 11 minutes into the period, and Giacomini missing right from short range after taking a pass from Eghdami.
Lakeridge didn't miss its next chance, however. With 27:28 left in the contest, Pacer sophomore Matthew Maldonado fed the ball to Levin on the right seam for his second goal and a 3-0 lead.
The Pacers were back in goal nine minutes later when Sze sent a corner kick to senior Colin Branam on the left edge of the field. From there, he took one touch toward the middle of the pitch and blasted a right-footed shot from 24 yards into the left side of the goal to make it 4-0.
Then, five minutes after Smith made a leaping one-handed save against Lakeridge sophomore Rollo Van Driesche, McDowell capped the scoring when he looped a 35-yard free kick off the underside of the crossbar and into the Laker goal for the 5-0 final margin with 11:17 left to play.
"We've got really good players … we've got good depth (and) we've got players that can get the ball on the head and also cut back," Real said.
"We have a lot of depth on our team that I don't think a lot of other teams have," Sze said. "All 21 of our players can all (play) and do something and make a difference for us."
For Lake Oswego, the Lakers promised to continue their hard work and turn things around.
"We've just got to keep creating chances," Eghdami said. "The only way to win games is to score goals so that's what we're going to keep doing, keep fighting, keep our heads up."
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