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The Lakers lead early and have a chance to tie late before falling to the Crusaders.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - The Jesuit girls lacrosse team poses with its championship trophy after beating Lake Oswego 12-11 in the OGLA state championship at Pioneer Memorial Stadium on Oregon City on Friday, June 3.It almost figured.

When the two best girls lacrosse teams in Oregon — second-seeded Metro League champion Jesuit and top-seeded Three Rivers League winner Lake Oswego — matched up in the biggest game of the past three years, you just knew it was going to be a thriller.

And the Crusaders and Lakers — playing in the first Oregon Girls Lacrosse Association state championship since 2019 — didn't disappoint.

Lake Oswego rallied from a four-goal deficit in the final nine minutes to close within one, then forced a late turnover that gave the Lakers one more chance to tie.

But Jesuit was up to the task, preventing the Lakers from getting a last-second shot and walking off with a 12-11 victory at Pioneer Memorial Stadium in Oregon City.

"It's 100,000 times better than I thought it was going to be," said Jesuit junior Piper Daskalos, the 2022 Oregon Player of the Year who led all scorers with five goals. "I'm so proud of everyone. I'm just super excited right now."

"I was really confident in my team and (our) ability because we've been we've been through so much as a team together," said junior goalie Sydney Partovi, the title-game MVP after making six saves and adding three ground balls. "I've played with so many of them for so long … (that) I was really confident. I was confident, but really nervous."

"it's just incredible," said freshman Gigi Abernethy, who scored two goals, won six draw controls, and added one assist and one ground ball. "I'm so proud of my team. It's just amazing. We've worked so hard this season and we just battled so hard through that whole game, too."

With the win, the team's 17th straight, Jesuit finished its year with a perfect 17-0 record and a second straight state championship after previously winning the 2019 OGLA crown. The 2020 and 2021 state playoffs were both canceled due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lake Oswego, meanwhile, saw its 15-game winning streak snapped and finished its season with a 15-5 overall record.

"As a captain, I am obviously upset with the way that it ended, but I really could not be more proud of this group of girls," said Lake Oswego senior Edie Prager, who scored twice in the championship. "These girls are like my sisters. We hang out all the time. Our team chemistry is impeccable and I'm really gonna miss them next year."

"We went out on a bang," said senior Courtney Havel, who scored a team-high three goals and also added one caused turnover and one ground ball. "I'm so proud of our team. Yeah, the end result wasn't great, but everyone did amazing."

"It was definitely good to go out in my senior year on a bang," added LO senior Kate Anders, who finished with one goal, two assists and one ground ball. "Just making it to the championship was really rewarding for us."

The Lakers very nearly did more than "just make it to the championship" game. Taking advantage of seven straight draw control wins at the beginning of the game, Lake Oswego started fast and pushed ahead 4-2 when Anders took a Lilah Turley pass and scored on a cut with 10:03 left in the first half.

But the Crusaders rallied in the final eight minutes of the half, stringing together a 5-1 stretch that gave them a 7-5 lead with 1:28 to go. Junior Tess Randall hit a low, bouncing shot to start that run, Abernethy followed up a minute later when she scored on a free position shot, Daskalos took a pass from Randall and scored to tie the game, Abernethy gave Jesuit its first lead when she connected off an assist by junior Sophie Pittelli and Daskalos made it 7-5 on another free position shot late in the half.

Havel answered for LO with 47 seconds remaining in the period to keep her team within 7-6.

The Crusaders carried their momentum into the second half, outscoring the Lakers 4-1 in the first nine minutes to push ahead 11-7. With Abernethy beginning to enforce her will on the draw control, Jesuit senior Kiana Santiago took advantage on offense, scoring three times in the first 10 minutes of the half and Pittelli adding an overhand shot to make it 11-7 with 15:11 left in the contest.

The two teams traded goals over the next four minutes, with Jesuit still up 12-8 after Daskalos scored from short range with 11:20 remaining on the clock.

But the Lakers — who won state titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018 — took the momentum back in the next five minutes, scoring three straight goals to cut their deficit to just 12-11. Freshman Barrett Doan got the first of those when she scored on a free position shot, sophomore Reilly Mullen made it two in a row on a low shot assisted by Anders, and Anders cut the Jesuit lead to 12-11 when she hit a turnaround shot between three defenders with 6:22 left in the game.

That wasn't the end of the excitement, either. Prager had a free position shot that Partovi stopped with 2:05 left to play, and after Jesuit ran 90 seconds off the clock, LO senior Rylee Winn made a steal and gave her team possession with 25 seconds left to play.

"I was just in the moment," Partovi said of her late save against Prager. "It was just me … watching the person with the ball. … I was just focused on the ball. I wasn't focused on anything else."

After a timeout, Turley passed to Winn and she sent the ball to Crist who carried the ball deep into Jesuit's end of the field. But Crist got turned away by the Crusaders' "D," and the ball went to Winn and Anders before time ran out.

"It was a little bit stressful, but we pulled through," Abernethy said. "We just worked so hard the whole entire game. … We've worked on that in practice and it's just such a great accomplishment."

For their part, the Lakers knew how close they'd been to victory.

"Those last couple of seconds, we didn't really draw anything up," Anders said. "Our coach put a lot of trust in us to make the right decision and we had the ball and we moved it well. It just wasn't there. We just didn't have enough time."

For Jesuit, Santiago added three goals, two ground balls, one assist, one draw control and one caused turnover, Randall added two assists, and junior Brynn Ensminger had two caused turnovers and two ground balls. For Lake Oswego, senior goalie Greta DeGeest made four saves, Turley had one goal, one assist, nine draw controls, two caused turnovers and two ground balls, Mullen scored twice, and Winn and freshman Millie Prager won three draw controls each.

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