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On a rainy night at Lakeridge High School, the Pacers grabbed the lead and never gave it back as they won the league title.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Lakeridge junior Mauricio Loyo (36) dribbles the ball past Lake Oswego's Luc Scipio del Campo (7) during the Pacers' 3-1 win Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Lakeridge High School.

After taking down their rivals, the Lakeridge boys soccer team are Three Rivers League champions.

Lakeridge (12-1-1, 5-0 Three Rivers) defeated Lake Oswego 3-1 at home Tuesday night, Oct. 25, in a winner-take-all match to decide the league championship. Pacer senior Zac Levin scored twice in the win, including the game-winner, in the regular-season finale for both teams.

"I've been on this team since sophomore year," Levin said after the win, "and the whole goal has been to win a state championship and a league championship before I got out of here my senior year."

"We did it," Levin said of winning the TRL. "Now, we've got five more games to go for a state championship."

Almost immediately after Jacob Real's powerful strike in the 21st minute to put Lakeridge up 1-0, Levin scored off a well-placed cross by Spencer Lovell to make it a two-goal lead.

"Spencer (Lovell) did a really great job pressing their right back," Levin said. "He put it right across goal. I was right where I needed to be, but it was all Spencer."

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Lakeridge senior Zac Levin (right) scored two of the Pacers' goals, including the game-winner, during his team's 3-1 win over Lake Oswego on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

The Lakers (7-4-3, 3-1-1 Three Rivers) answered back with a goal from Max Reckerman just before halftime, giving Lake Oswego some much-needed momentum. In the final 40 minutes, though, the Pacers clamped down and secured the victory.

During the second half, Lakeridge saw a Matthew Maldonado shot carom off the post and a Levin goal get called back for offsides. Eventually, though, the Pacers broke through for an insurance goal.

"We were just controlling the game (in the second half)," Levin said of the Lakeridge strategy. "We put five guys behind the ball, and we just needed to mediate their attack. We had me and Mauricio (Loyo) up top, just got in one late and made it 3-1."

The game became more and more physical as the night wore on, with so much on the line for both teams. Aside from playoff seeding and even the league title, it was also a crosstown rivalry featuring two teams who know each other extremely well.

"It's kind of an odd feeling for me because I play (club soccer) with half the guys on their team," Lake Oswego senior Adam Robertson said. "It's really odd going out against them in a game that means so much — to me, to them, to everybody else — and you're lining up against one of your best friends.

"We all found a way to get past that, but it was hard."

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Lake Oswego junior Max Reckerman (15) scored the Lakers' only goal during his team's 3-1 loss to Lakeridge on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Lakeridge High School.

The fact that this game had such significance in the Three Rivers League standings is a testament to how this Lake Oswego team has grown throughout the season. Robertson says the Lakers see themselves as underdogs, and they are hungry to prove that they belong in the state title picture.

"We're fighters," the senior captain explained of the Lakers team, which finished second in the Three Rivers League standings. "We don't really care who you are, if you're the No. 1 seed or the last seed. We're going to go out and beat you."

Robertson added: "People don't think much of us, and we're out to prove that we are something. We matter."

As for Lakeridge, the Pacers came into the night with the No. 2 overall OSAA ranking and are now looking to live up to that lofty number.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Lakeridge senior Anthony Arluna (center) jumps for joy as the Pacers celebrate beating Lake Oswego 3-1 to win the Three Rivers League title on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

The OSAA 6A Boys Soccer State Championship bracket was released late Tuesday night following the conclusion of the Class 6A regular season.

Lakeridge received the No. 2 overall seed behind only Jesuit, and as a result, the Pacers will host No. 31 Franklin during the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, Oct. 29. Meanwhile, Lake Oswego is the No. 23 seed in the tournament, and the Lakers will travel to No. 10 Grant on Saturday. Kickoff times for the games have not yet been determined.


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