West Linn boys lacrosse gets payback, beats Lake Oswego 15-7
The West Linn boys lacrosse team waited a long time for this one.
The Lions, who dropped a 14-7 decision to Lake Oswego in the 2019 Oregon High School Lacrosse Association state championship game, wanted a shot at redemption in 2020, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, that never happened.
So when West Linn finally did get its shot at Lake Oswego — 691 days later — the Lions made the most of their chance.
They blasted out to a four-goal lead in the game's first 5 minutes, 12 seconds, withstood a couple Laker comeback attempts and pulled away to win 15-8 at West Linn High School on Friday, April 23.
"Ever since we were in the state championship two years ago, that's all I've been thinking about is playing this team again," said West Linn senior midfielder Brenden Crouse, who helped his team post a 21-2 edge in faceoffs. "It's a great program. I'm just glad we came out and played as a team and got the 'W.'"
"We've been working hard in practice and it pays off," said junior attack Aaron McCoy, who led his team with four goals in the victory. "We were kind of flat the first two games, but we came out swinging, telling them this is our field."
With the win, the Lions snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 1-0 in Three Rivers League action and 1-2 overall. The Lakers, meanwhile, lost for the first time and fell to 0-1 in the TRL and 2-1 overall.
"We have a super young team, obviously, since last year didn't happen. A lot of these guys haven't been in a big game like this so I think it's a big learning moment, a teaching moment for a lot of them," said Lake Oswego senior attack Ryan DeRaeve, who scored twice against the Lions.
"They definitely wanted it coming off the 0-2 start to the season," added Lake Oswego junior attack Gavin McGuire, who scored four times in the loss. "They definitely needed to take us down on their home field."
The Lions did just that on Friday, scoring four unanswered goals at the start of the contest, beginning with a shot by freshman Riley Donnerberg and followed by goals from McCoy (assisted by sophomore Harrison Edwards), Edwards (assisted by senior Zennon LaForce) and Crouse (assisted by freshman Gage Hurych).
The Lakers rallied with a pair of McGuire goals to pull within 4-2, but the Lions closed the period on a three-goal run to lead 7-2. McCoy got the first of those three on a cut assisted by Edwards, Edwards scored on a low shot with 1:21 to go in the period and LaForce ended the quarter when he took a pass from McCoy and connected with 40 seconds remaining.
The pace of the game slowed in the second quarter, though, and Lake Oswego crept back into contention. McGuire started that process when he took a DeRaeve pass and scored from the left side with 3:38 left in the half, and DeRaeve followed with a long, low sling shot past LO junior goalie Bond Barnette to cut the Lion lead to 7-4.
But Edwards gave his team a giant lift at the end of the half, connecting from seven yards out of goal in the final second of the quarter to give his team an 8-4 edge at the break.
Undaunted, the Lakers scored two of the first three goals of the third quarter to cut their deficit to 9-6. The first of those came on a 15-yard sling shot by McGuire and, after LaForce answered for West Linn, LO sophomore midfielder Calvin Macy went the length of the field and connected with 5:40 to go in the third.
West Linn wasn't going to let this one get away, though. The Lions proved it by scoring the game's next six goals to put the contest on ice. Sophomore Luke Bowerly and Hurych scored unassisted to end the third quarter with an 11-6 lead, and the Lions erased all remaining questions at the start of the fourth.
In the final period, McCoy connected just 1:52 into the quarter and scored again 1:42 later, while senior Josh Morford took a pass from sophomore Stanley Mylet and cashed in again to boost West Linn's lead to 14-6 with 7:26 left in the contest.
"The key was just practice, putting practice in in the offseason and preparing for this season," Crouse said. "It definitely felt good to get a 'W' in the win column."
The Lakers sandwiched goals from sophomore Alex Kemalyan and DeRaeve around a score by West Linn senior Duffy Griffin for the final 15-8 margin.
"We, obviously, didn't really get any faceoffs, which is always tough. We didn't have the ball on offense and … they capitalized when they had it so props to them," DeRaeve said. "They came in hot and props to them."
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