Lakeridge girls water polo beats Newberg 7-6 in overtime
The Lakeridge girls water polo team is boldly going where no Pacers' girls team has gone before.
Lakeridge, which beat Newberg for the first time in six years on Sept. 17, added another huge "W" to their 2021 season, beating the Tigers 7-6 in double overtime at Lake Oswego School District Pool on Wednesday, Sept. 29.
"We are a really new team, but I'm so excited we got to win this," said Lakeridge sophomore Elise Rabe, who scored with 59 seconds left in the second overtime to beat Newberg. "I was expecting it to be less high intensity. I didn't think we would keep it up the whole time, but we all powered through the whole time."
"It's a pretty big deal because the Newberg girls team has been winning state for the past couple years," said sophomore Ella Ferguson, who led her team with three goals. "They are really good and it's exciting to win against them at our home pool."
With the win, the Pacers improved to 1-0 in Three Rivers League play and 7-3 overall. Newberg, meanwhile, saw its TRL mark fall to 0-1 and its overall record to 11-4.
"Going into overtime, I had a lot of hope for us," said Newberg senior Amelia Bayha, who scored once in the loss. "It was just our little fundamental mistakes that got us in the end."
"I just think if we would have started out a little stronger and went into it with a little bit more fire, then we could have come out with a different score," said junior Izzy Smart, who scored twice to lead her team.
The Pacers did indeed start quickly in their showdown against the Tigers. They raced out to a 3-0 lead in just over three minutes, then stretched that edge to 5-1 early in the second quarter. Lakeridge freshman Adrienne Medak got the scoring started against Newberg and Ferguson followed with back-to-back goals to give her team a 3-0 lead just 3:08 into the contest. Newberg closed within 3-1 at the end of the opening quarter on a score from Bayha, but the Pacers tacked on goals by junior Eleni Antonis and Ferguson early in the second period to lead 5-1.
"I think we did a great job communicating and just knowing where the open person was and really supporting each other, not bringing each other down," Ferguson said. "It was all good vibes — we're in this together."
The Tigers — state champs in 2015, 2017 and 2019 — came back over the next 2 Â½ quarters, however, eventually knotting the score at 6-6 with 1:56 remaining in the third period. During that stretch, Newberg got goals from Smart and junior Cydney Doerr to close within 5-3 at the half, then added another by junior Ava Krober to make it 5-4 just 36 seconds into the third quarter.
Rabe's first goal, assisted by junior Charlotte Mitchell with 5:07 remaining in the third, pushed the Pacer lead to 6-4, but Newberg responded again, this time with scores from Smart and junior Sonia Brenner — Brenner's on a spinning backhanded shot — to tie the game at 6-6.
The teams then battled through a scoreless fourth quarter dominated by defense and highlighted by Pacer junior goalie Evelyn Miller's block of a penalty shot, then remained tied at 6-6 through the scoreless first overtime period.
But in the second OT, after Ferguson got fouled by the Newberg defense, she dropped the ball to Rabe on the left side of the Tiger goal. From there, she connected on a hard, short-range shot to the corner of the Tiger net with just 59 seconds left to play.
"It feels really good, especially having that last shot put away," Rabe said. "I just kept going and called for the ball, waited for it and put it in."
For their part, the Tigers knew how close they'd been to victory.
"They are probably one of our closest rivals this season," Bayha said. "It's a pretty equal playing field, and in the end, it's just who goes out with more energy."
"This game was a very intense game for both teams. Because it was a league game, it steps it up and puts the pressure on," said Newberg senior goalie Annabelle Wood. "This game had pressure, this game had high success, this game had it all."
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