The Newberg girls water polo team is fighting for a Three Rivers League title.
Lake Oswego's girls are fighting for their competitive lives.
So when the two teams got together at Chehalem Aquatic Center in Newberg on Wednesday, Oct. 13, they both got after it big-time.
In the end, the Tigers used a fast start and potent offense to post a 12-5 Three Rivers League victory over the Lakers.
"We were able to get some good offensive opportunities open and we made sure to get back on defense and lock them down because that was the main priority — just stopping them," said Newberg junior Ava Krober, who led her team with four goals in the win. "We knew our opportunities would come."
"It was really good to have all of our starters back in," said senior Amelia Bayha, who scored three times against Lake Oswego. "We've had some gaps in our starting lineup the past couple of days because of sickness and taking some time off so it was really good to get everyone back in."
The win — the Tigers' fourth straight — lifted Newberg's TRL record to 5-1 and its overall mark to 17-7. Lake Oswego, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and fell to 0-2 in TRL play and 7-12 overall.
"I think we learned that we need to play smarter, not harder," said Lake Oswego freshman Noa Ziv, who scored once against the Tigers. "I think we did much better during the second half. I think (we) started playing much more as a team."
"I think as a team we need to work on our endurance because playing in this all-deep pool definitely makes us realize how much we need to be working on our swimming," said Lake Oswego junior Carmen Karsonovich, who led her team with three goals. "And also, communication is always necessary — just being able to talk to each other while playing."
While Newberg eventually dominated scoring in the first half, the Lakers and sophomore goalie Ashleigh Yob kept the Tigers at bay for the first 3 Â½ minutes of the game. But Newberg broke through with a goal by Bayha, then added two Krober scores in the final 1:36 of the quarter to lead 3-0.
Lake Oswego closed within 3-1 when Karsonovich hit for the Lakers early in the second period, but the Tigers pushed across three more scores before halftime to lead 6-1. Bayha got the first of those a minute after Karsonovich's score, Newberg junior Sonia Brenner followed up 37 seconds later and Tiger freshman Avery Hauck-Hynen hit late in the half for that five-goal lead.
Newberg kept the pressure on in the third quarter, too, adding two more goals by Krober and one each from Hauck-Hynen and Bayha as their lead crested at 10-2.
Karsonovich added the Laker's lone goal in the third, and LO then put together a 3-2 scoring edge in the fourth quarter. There, Lake Oswego saw Ziv make a steal and score early in the period, while senior Jacky Benincosa and Karsonovich hit back-to-back in just over a minute to bring their team within 11-5 before the Tigers ran out the clock to win.
"Our team is finally getting some confidence in our abilities and we're taking more initiative out there," Bayha said. "It's cool to see some of our younger girls step up and figure out what their talents are."
The Lakers, meanwhile, were encouraged by their solid finish.
"We were able to push ourselves and learn from our mistakes in the first half and make sure we were communicating," Karsonovich added. "Even though we were exhausted, I think we were still able to do our best."
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