In the first half of its Thursday, May 6, game at West Linn High School, the Clackamas-Oregon City girls lacrosse team showed it was up to the challenge.
But the Lions held the upper hand in the second half — and held it big-time — and used that advantage in the final 25 minutes to pull away and win 13-6.
"We're a really big second-half team because we rely on each other, and our energy just increased, and we cheered each other on more, and we just helped all of our teammates improve," said West Linn's Ryleigh Freeman, who led all scorers with three goals on Thursday.
"We just used their energy to fuel us and we came through," said West Linn's Lila Skates, who added two goals and one assist in the victory.
With the win — the Lions' second straight — West Linn improved to 6-1 in Three Rivers League action and 6-1 overall. Clackamas-Oregon City, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and fell to 1-3 in both TRL play and overall.
While disappointed with the loss, Clackamas-Oregon City's players were proud of their efforts, especially in the first half.
"We kept moving the ball on offense, which was very good for us. We kept our defense up in the transitions … and we put the ball in the back of the net at the end," said Clackamas-Oregon City's Mairin Kelly, who led her team with two goals in the loss.
"In the first half, we just had so much energy," added teammate Ava Bluhm. "If we would have kept it up, we probably would have scored so much more but … we still held our own."
The first half was an absolute dogfight, with neither team leading by more than two goals and Clackamas-Oregon City taking a 5-4 edge with 6 minutes, 14 seconds left in the first half.
But the Lions took over at the end of the first half and dominated the second, outscoring Clackamas-Oregon City 9-1 over the game's final 25:49 to pull away and win convincingly.
A big part of West Linn's success came through winning the draw. After seeing Clackamas-Oregon City hold the upper hand in the first half, the Lions won seven of nine draws in the second half (and eight of the last 10 in the game) and used that advantage to fuel their offense.
"On the draws, I think we got mad, and we decided that we were going to take possession because our goals as a team were 'first draw, first goal,'" Freeman said.
West Linn closed the first half with back-to-back scores from Audrey Jacklyn and Maya Wright to lead 6-5 at the break, then scored six unanswered goals to open the second half. After halftime, Freeman scored twice in the first 4:31 of the period and Abby Peterson added two goals of her own to help West Linn extend its lead to 12-5 with 12:15 left in the game and essentially put the decision out of reach.
In the opening half, Clackamas-Oregon City rallied from an early 2-0 deficit, tied the game 2-2 on back-to-back goals by Kelly, then scored three of the game's next four goals to take its only lead at 5-4 when Lila Meyer took a pass from Elsie Marineau and connected with 6:14 to go in the half.
The second half, however, was almost all West Linn.
"We just sort of died down in the second," Bluhm said. "I feel like if we could have got more ground balls, we would have been more of a threat."
For West Linn, the win was just a celebration of its success and competition in a year when no one was really sure it was going to happen at all.
"It definitely fuels us that we don't have that many opportunities to be able to play because we don't know when it's going to end," Skates added. "It definitely feels good."
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