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The Lions win their fourth straight TRL game and rise into second place in league

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - West Linn senior Marco Kreske races upfield with the ball during his team's 6-0 win over Oregon City at Pioneer Memorial Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 10.Some days, things just click.

Just ask the West Linn boys soccer team.

The Lions won their fourth straight Three Rivers League match on Thursday, Oct. 10, racing past Oregon City 6-0 at Pioneer Memorial Stadium.

The Lions scored five of their six goals in the night's first half, then coasted home to win easily and move into a second-place tie in the TRL.

"It was just keeping our head in the game and making sure we started fast," said West Linn sophomore midfielder Owen Hoy, who scored his team's fifth goal against Oregon City. "Our first few games, we started slow so we made sure to change that."

"In practice, we work hard every day, we trust the process, our subs come on and give the same energy as the starters and we just go from there," explained senior midfielder/defender Marco Kreske, who scored his team's lone second-half goal.

As impressive as the Lions' offense was — the win over Oregon City marked the team's highest-scoring game of the year — the West Linn defense was just as successful, helping dominate possession, control the ball in the back third of the field and hold the Pioneers to just two shots on goal in the second half.

"We were really focused on keeping that (shutout)," added West Linn junior defender Landon Crollard. "We're just making sure we have really good communication, making sure all their strikers are marked at once."

With the win, the No. 25 Lions improved to 6-2 and a second-place tie with Tualatin in the Three Rivers League and 6-4 overall. No. 47 Oregon City, meanwhile, lost for the third straight time and extended its winless streak to 10 games, moving to 0-7-1 in TRL play and 0-9-1 overall.

West Linn 6, Oregon City 0

The Lions started their scoring parade early against the Pioneers, beginning with senior forward/midfielder Jacob Babalai and his right-footed shot from the edge of the Oregon City penalty box six minutes into the contest.

Sophomore midfielder Owen Caba made it 2-0 soon after when he hit a left-footed shot from outside the Pioneers' box and into the bottom corner of the net. And junior forward/midfielder Zach Walton pushed the edge to 3-0 when he intercepted an Oregon City goal kick and beat Pioneers' keeper Josepher Juarez-Cruz in a one-on-one situation.

The Lions kept the heat on later in the half, too, with sophomore midfielder/defender Max Kelley converting a penalty kick with 12 minutes remaining before the half, and Hoy capping the outburst when he connected on a 35-yard blast to the top right corner of the goal with 1:40 remaining in the half.

While the Pioneers did not score, they did generate some offense late in the opening half, getting a corner kick from Manny Diaz in the final minute and a shot from Edson Jimenez-Sutton stopped by West Linn junior keeper Caden Kesselring three seconds before the break.

Though the Lions would only score once more in the second half, they generated plenty of other chances, starting with shots on goal from both Kreske and Kelley in the first three minutes, with Kelley's a header that ricocheted off the crossbar.

Kreske then capped the scoring when he collected the ball in a crowd 12 yards out of the Oregon City goal and knocked it into the left corner with 33:29 remaining in the contest.

The Lions' other best second-half chances came from sophomore forward Eli Johnson and senior forward/midfielder Ian Pries — both bounced shots off the Pioneers' crossbar in the final 20 minutes.

"I've seen a lot better chemistry throughout our team," Kreske said of his team's progression. "At first, we didn't know each other that well, but we've gotten to know each other, gotten to know how each other play and it's just started clicking."

Now, the Lions just want to keep the good times rolling and they know how to do it.

"It's just staying motivated during training and making sure we work hard and get the little things right," Hoy said. "It's just making sure that training stays the same way it has been, making sure it's intense and we keep the momentum going and everything stays positive within the team."

"I think we just needed to keep our motivation going, keep taking every game one at a time and focusing on getting wins," Crollard added.

Contact Sports Editor Miles Vance at 503-330-0127 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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