West Linn boys lacrosse pulls away from Lakeridge
The West Linn boys lacrosse team started fast.
The Lakeridge boys began to reel the Lions in after that.
But then, with two teams seemingly on the verge of an epic fourth-quarter battle, the Lions stomped on the accelerator and pulled away to beat the Pacers 14-9 at West Linn High School on April 26.
"I think we are just a fourth-quarter team," said West Linn senior long stick middle Reed Rissberger. "We've done that in the past couple of games. We just really stayed after it."
"We've played them a lot in the past and we know their tendencies," explained senior midfielder Max Michelon, who scored twice in his team's win. "We just know that they break down. We knew if we kept pushing it, eventually they'd be pushed over."
With the win, the Lions improved to 3-1 in Three Rivers League play and 9-4 overall. Lakeridge, meanwhile, took its TRL record to 2-2 and its overall mark to 5-5.
"When we were playing our game, we were being successful. And when we weren't playing our game, we weren't. It's as simple as that," said Lakeridge senior midfielder Miles Moscato, who scored twice in the loss. "We beat ourselves today and it's going to take a lot of work for us to get back, but I believe in our boys."
"We had quite the hole to dig ourselves out of," added Lakeridge senior midfielder Jimmy Ryan, who also scored twice against West Linn. "They were playing their game tonight and we were very much off of ours. There's definitely room for improvement there. We're going to get back to work tomorrow and make sure everyone's ready to go."
After the two teams traded goals at the start of the contest — Michelon scoring for West Linn and Moscato for West Linn — the Lions ripped off three straight scores in less than seven minutes to push ahead 4-1.
West Linn junior attack Scott Ross — he led all scorers with six goals — got the first of those, sophomore teammate Michael Stell made it two straight and sophomore Zach Vannaman connected again — his shot from 15 yards out — for that 4-1 edge with 2 minutes, 16 seconds left in the first quarter.
Lakeridge junior Ty Delancelotti came through at the end of the opening quarter to bring his team within 4-2, and the two teams then battled through a back-and-forth second period in which neither team scored consecutive goals.
Scott scored twice in the period for West Linn and Stell once, while the Pacers tried to stay close on scores by Hunter Daskalos and Ryan, but eventually fell behind 7-4 at the half.
Lakeridge got no closer in the third quarter, but held serve, sandwiching goals by Delancelotti and Moscato around two more Scott scores to stay within 9-6 entering the final period.
But there, after an early exchange of goals —Scott scoring off a pass from James Rowan and Ryan answering 32 seconds later — the Lions took over. While the Pacers went scoreless over the next 5:32, West Linn scored four straight goals, the first by Michelon, two in less than a minute by Mitchell Peterson and the last by Anders Martenson to make it 14-7 with 4:44 left to play.
Lakeridge rallied for two late scores — by Daskalos and Delancelotti — but got no closer than the final 14-9 margin.
After the game, the Lions said that their defense — they employed a zone instead of their usual man-to-man — played a big role in their victory.
"We've got some of the starters out right now on defense and we went to a zone and they just weren't ready for it," Rissberger said. "We killed it. Good coaching, good game plan."
"We switched up our defense and went to a zone instead of a man," Michelon said. "Our defensive coach is quite a genius for that one. They just weren't expecting it and it worked to perfection."
On their side of the field, the Pacers just knew they needed to continue improving to be ready for the rematch on May 8 at Lakeridge.
"If there's anything I love about these boys, it's that we can get thrown down on the mat and get back up," said Moscato, who played at West Linn last year before moving to what he called "a better situation for me and my family" at Lakeridge. "I think this is a wake-up call we need and I think we'll respond and I hope we do."
"I think we'll be back to get them when we play them at Lakeridge," Ryan added. "We've got everyone healthy, so hopefully, we'll get them all working together and get this fine-tuned machine oiled so we'll finish up the rest of the season strong."