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Tigers post an 11-4 win over the Pacers and win Three Rivers League championship

GARY ALLEN - Newberg's defense proved too much for Lakeridge Oct. 24 as the Tigers overwhelmed the Pacers for an 11-4 win to clinch the Three Rivers League Championship at home.

The Newberg boys water polo team was ready. Indeed, when the Tigers saw Lakeridge looming on their schedule, there was no way they couldn't be ready.

The Pacers, after all, had beaten Newberg twice during the 2017 season, the Tigers returned the favor by winning the 2017 state championship, and the two teams had battled through an 8-7 Newberg overtime win earlier this year.

With all that as pretext, the Tigers proved their readiness Oct. 24 when they welcomed the Pacers to Chehalem Aquatic Center for both teams' regular season finale. This time, there was no regular-season loss and no overtime drama. Instead, Newberg took control early, pulled away steadily and posted an 11-4 win that secured its Three Rivers League title.

"Our boys are in good condition and did not let up," NHS coach Jim McMaster said. "We also have excellent defense with not only the field players, but last year's high school state MVP Wilson Johnson in the goal."

Next up, the top-ranked Tigers will defend their state title in the playoffs against the as-yet-to-be-determined fourth-place team from the Mount Hood Conference, at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis.

Lakeridge, meanwhile, is second-ranked, has lost just twice this year — both those setbacks coming to Newberg — and opens the playoffs against No. 15 Tigard at 12:40 p.m. Friday.

In its win over Lakeridge, Newberg blasted out to a 3-0 lead in the game's first quarter, getting goals from Zach Jordan, Raleigh Day and Nathan Waldal. The Pacers answered with a late goal from Torin Ferguson, but still trailed 3-1.

Lakeridge's Thomas Gooding stepped up to score again for the Pacers 25 seconds into the second quarter to cut his team's deficit to just 3-2, but the Tigers then stomped on the accelerator.

They outscored Lakeridge 5-1 in the final 6:13 of the half, with Jordan getting the first three of those in a span of three minutes. The Pacers' remaining goal came from Oscar Loureiro Alvarez, while the Tigers added scores from Alex Touzeau and Day to boost their team's lead to 8-3 at the half.

The Tigers kept the pressure on in the third quarter, with Johnson and the Newberg defense shutting out the Pacers, while at the other end of the pool, Jordan scored twice more and Dana Findley once to push its lead to 11-3.

Johnson made four more stops in the fourth quarter, with Lakeridge's Gooding scoring his team's last goal, but it was too little, too late.

"Lakeridge has been a worthy opponent the last few years," McMaster said. "Being able to capitalize on their weaknesses helps us to be ready for the playoffs."

For the game, Day had four goals, two assists and three steals; Jordan had four goals and four steals; Waldal added three steals and Johnson blocked 10 shots.

Tigers dismantle Lakers to prep for another state title run

By Miles Vance

Lake Oswego Review reporter

It seems there's little that can stop — or even slow — the Newberg girls water polo team.

The Tigers, the reigning state champions, have rolled over their opponents all year long and they weren't about to slow down on Senior Night.

Newberg, hosting Lakeridge at Chehalem Aquatic Center on Oct. 24, finished its regular season with a flourish, racing past the Pacers 23-8 to secure another Three Rivers League championship.

"It was Senior Night and our last game of the season," NHS coach Cari Blanchard said. "The girls were excited and also a little emotional as it is the closing of a chapter for our four seniors. They had a great game."

After going unbeaten in the Three Rivers League season, the Tigers will next set their sights on another state championship. Top-ranked Newberg will begin defense of its state title in the playoffs against No. 16 Tualatin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis.

"We should be able to contend well, and hopefully, defend our state title," Blanchard said. "They will need to translate all of our conditioning, training and skills from the season at the state tournament."

For Lakeridge, the loss to Newberg ended its TRL season with a second-place finish and an 8-2 record (12-3 overall). The seventh-ranked Pacers will open the state playoffs against No. 10 Sunset on Saturday.

"We are on the hunt and will be in the playoffs next weekend with our goal being to make it into the top eight," LHS coach Morgan Rauch said. "The girls are continuing to push their game to the next level."

That said, the Tigers were in no mood for an upset last week and blasted out to a 7-0 first-quarter lead, getting two goals each from Hailey Day, Mackenzie Russell and Nikki Rubottom, and a single goal from Natalie Kisling.

Lakeridge's Cascade Stensland broke her team's scoreless streak when she connected early in the second quarter, but Newberg just kept pushing. The Tigers closed the half with a 4-2 edge in the final 5:19 of the period, with Day breaking free for three scores and teammate Stella Byles notching one.

On their end of the pool, the Pacers tacked on scores from Stensland and Molly Glad but fell behind 11-3 at the half. The Tigers came back strong with a 5-0 scoring edge in the third quarter to put the game on ice at 16-3. Russell and Byles connected twice each in the period, while teammate Paris Boileau added the team's other goal.

"I asked them to execute and maintain their intensity the entire game so we could continue to prepare for districts and state," Blanchard said. 

The Pacers added three scores — two from Taylor Rockwood and one from Stensland — in the fourth quarter, but Newberg closed its day with another seven, getting two each from Day and Jordan Trantham.

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