Both Timberwolf squads get wins over rival Tigard

by: DAN BROOD - SPLASHDOWN -- Tigard's Austin Todd (left) and Tualatin's Alex Valos battle for the ball during Monday's game played at Tigard.TIGARD — The Tualatin High School boys water polo team, with its sights set on the upcoming state playoffs, is working hard to keep getting better.

Meanwhile, the Tigard boys water polo squad showed that it's done some improving of its own.

And the rivals each put forth what looked to be a spirited effort when they clashed for the final time this season.

The Timberwolves, looking to refine their game, scored a 13-4 win over the Tigers in a Pacific Conference game played Monday at the Tigard Swim Center.

“It was good,” Tualatin junior Harrison Visse said after the game. “We're trying to get ready for the playoffs. We're finalizing our offense and defense. We're working on the little things.”

With the win, Tualatin improved to 8-2 in Pacific Conference play, putting the Wolves in a tie with Lake Oswego for second place in the conference standings.

Tigard moved to 3-7 in conference play with the setback. However, the Tigers seemed to compete better with the rival Wolves in Monday's game than they did in the teams' first meeting, when Tualatin got a 20-6 victory.

“The boys are still improving,” Tigard coach John Ruzicka said. “But we're getting down to the end of the season.”

The Timberwolves got off to a strong start in Monday's game. Tualatin senior Forrest Lofgren scored on a breakaway off a long pass from senior goalie Jacob Baldry to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead with 4 minutes and 58 seconds left in the first quarter.

Tigard came right back with a goal by Austin Todd, off an assist from Logan Hammer, to tie the game at 1-1 with 4:20 left in the period. Lofgren and Todd each scored again to keep things tied, at 2-2.

But, in the final 1:33 of the period, Tualatin got breakaway goals from Lofgren and Visse, both coming off long passes from Baldry, to take a 4-2 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

Tigard trimmed the margin to 4-3 with 3:54 left in the second quarter when Jonathan Irving scored on a long-range shot. Tualatin answered that with a goal by Visse with 32 seconds left in the period, giving the Wolves a 5-3 halftime lead.

Tualatin then started to pull away in the third quarter. A goal by freshman Jacob Berggren, coming off another long assist by Baldry, and a goal by junior Brenden O'Neill upped the lead to 7-3 with 3:39 left in the quarter.

Tigard got a goal by Todd, but the Wolves ended the period on a 4-0 run that included two goals by Lofgren and one each by Berggren and Visse, giving Tualatin an 11-4 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Tualatin then got goals from Lofgren and Visse in the final stanza to wrap up the 13-4 victory.

“Our team cohesiveness is spot on,” Visse said. “Everyone knows where everyone else is. We've been together for three years now. This is our year and we want to go as far as we can go.”

Lofgren paced Tualatin in the victory with six goals. Visse and Berggren added three goals apiece.

Todd led the Tigers with three goals.

In Monday's girls game at Tigard, Tualatin got a 17-6 victory to stay unbeaten on the season.

“The girls look strong,” Tualatin coach Ryan Deahn said. “We're trying to get ready for the playoffs. They're really playing together as a team, and it's nice having players like Madison (Berggren), Kate (McDonnell) and Marisa (Lovos), who have all been there. We have a very good maturity level this year. The girls aren't looking too far ahead.”

Lovos led the way for the Wolves in Monday's game at Tigard with seven goals. Berggren added six goals and senior Emily Watt had three.

Liz Irving led Tigard with three goals. Avery Branen, Taylor Roth and Daria Weber added one goal apiece.

The Tigers moved to 5-3 in Pacific Conference play with the setback. The Tigard girls also have a win over Newberg this season, their first in a long time.

“That was really exciting,” Ruzicka said. “And our girls played really well today. I think we had half as many turnovers and twice as many shots than the first time we played Tualatin.”

The teams from each school were back in action on Wednesday. The Tigard teams were scheduled to play at Hillsboro and the Tualatin boys were slated to play at Forest Grove. Results of those games weren't available when The Times went to press.

Regular season play is set to finish up on Monday. The Tualatin teams will travel to Newberg. The girls game will start at 6:30 p.m. and the boys contest will start at 7 p.m. The Tigard squads will be home to face Lakeridge. The girls game will start at 5 p.m. and the boys contest will follow at 6 p.m.

The Tigard girls and Tualatin boys could also end up playing in second-place tiebreaker games later next week, depending on the outcome of games played Wednesday and Monday.

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