Another team might have been scared.
A different group of girls might have feared the oncoming end to their season.
But not the Lake Oswego girls soccer team.
The Lakers, trailing Cleveland by one goal late in the first half of their Class 6A state playoff opener at Lake Oswego High School on Saturday, Oct. 30, simply stuck to the game plan, believed in themselves and pulled away to win 4-2.
"I think that we work really well together as a team," said Lake Oswego senior defender Julia Sieber, who scored one goal and assisted on another in the win. "Even when we were down in the first half, we knew that we could bring the energy and the intensity and find a way to win."
"It wasn't too bad because I know the way we practice that we could come back and get our goals," said senior forward Rylee Winn, who scored twice against Cleveland. "We are just constantly working together."
With the win — the team's sixth straight — the second-ranked Lakers improved to 13-0-2 and stretched their season-long unbeaten streak to 15 games after winning the Three Rivers League. No. 31 Cleveland, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and third time in its last four games, and ended its season at 4-10-1 after finishing fourth in the Portland Interscholastic League.
The Lakers started fast on Saturday, pushing ahead 1-0 just 4 minutes and 37 seconds into the game when senior defender Karoline Shipton sent a corner kick into the Warriors' penalty box from the left side and Winn headed it home at the far post.
While Cleveland may have been knocked back on its heels by that quick goal, it certainly wasn't knocked out. The Warriors tied the contest at 1-1 with 18:40 left in the first half when sophomore Jaidyn Richter bounced a long free kick into the Laker box and sophomore Elsie Koehler knocked it home on the left side.
Cleveland scored again with 4:13 to go before halftime on another long free kick by Richter that junior teammate Johanna Ritter-West converted for a 2-1 advantage.
The Lakers, however, hardly blinked, responding with 17 seconds left in the half when Sieber hit a 25-yard shot from the left side and beat the Warriors keeper to the top right corner of the net to tie the score at 2-2.
After the back-and-forth of the first half, the Lakers took command in the second, outshooting the Warriors 5-2, winning two corner kicks to Cleveland's none and scoring twice to pull away.
The first of those scores came when the Lakers played the ball into the Warriors' end of the field and Sieber headed it to junior Megan Ko who finished at the left post for a 3-2 LO edge with 19:49 left to play.
Then, with 5:50 remaining, senior forward Lauren DeGroot made a run up the right side of the field and crossed the ball to Winn who scored on the run at the left post for the final 4-2 margin.
"I think we kind of brought down our level when we were (behind 2-1), but then once we were able to get that goal going into halftime and the second half, we had a lot more energy and positivity, knowing that we could win," Sieber said.
"Once we got scored on, we were fine," Winn added. "We just needed to work on our positivity."
Next up, the Lakers host No. 18 South Medford (9-3-2 overall after finishing second in the Southwest Conference) at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the second round of the playoffs.
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