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The Lions couldn't overcome Summit in 6A state championship game; Valdes named West Linn Player of the Game

HILLSBORO, Ore. — It was a bittersweet finish for the Lions.

West Linn ran up a 15-1-2 record en route to the state championship game against Summit on Saturday, Nov. 13, including postseason upsets over three-seed South Eugene (14-3) and two-seed Jesuit (14-4). It was the best run in the program's history.

But in the finals they finally met an opponent in the Storm (17-0-1) who they could not overcome. Summit cruised to a 6-0 victory to claim the championship and deny the Lions their first boys soccer championship in school history. With the defeat, the Lions didn't find any moral victories in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.

"Maybe in a few days, but nothing positive right now," West Linn senior Luke Tinsley said.

From the jump, Summit was on the attack. In the first 20 seconds of the game Summit sophomore Bowen Teuber took a corner kick that crossed into the box and was headed out, just wide of the goal. It wouldn't be more than 3 minutes later that the Storm earned their first goal of the day.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - West Linn senior Luke Tinsley put in work trying to get his team back into the 6A title game against Summit on Saturday, Nov. 13.

Summit senior Paul Fectau scored at the 3:21 mark. After receiving a cross from the left-hand side, Fectau maneuvered the ball inside the box and put it away to go 1-0.

Summit's second goal came from senior Nathaniel Deperro, rocketing home a goal from 18 yards out at the 9:10 mark of the half. The final goal of the half came off the foot of Summit junior Aiden MacLennan off an assist from senior Rory McKee at 25:32. In total, Summit took six shots in the first half, converting on three of them.

At the half West Linn trailed 3-0.

The first-half offensive chances for West Linn were few and far between. The Lions earned a corner kick at 33:20 of the first half, which ultimately was defended out. It was their only corner kick of the half, and one of just five in the entire game. Comparatively, Summit earned six first-half corner kicks and seven in the second half.

"At that point, we were down 3-0 at half, so we have to go for it, we have to fight, we have to put a lot more energy into it, we have to go out with a bang until it hits zero," West Linn senior Alejandro Valdes said. "I think the boys did a good job doing that, we were just on the wrong side of the result today."

Summit kept up the pressure in the second half. At 53:49 Fectau assisted Summit senior Alex Grignon, who finished his shot from the left-hand side into the right-hand side of the net. Less than four minutes later, Summit freshman Kaden Roskowski scored on a penalty kick shortly after being subbed into the action officially at 63:11 of the game. Summit's final score of the game was off an errant pass, with Deperro finishing the chance from 12 yards out.

West Linn took four shots in the second half, three more than in the first. The closest opportunities came from seniors Thomas Pierce and Luke Tinsley.

Pierce, who operated mostly from the right-hand side of the field in the second half, found his closest shot of the half after the ball was defended out to him at the 67:00 mark of the game. Pierce sent a screaming shot just inches above the Summit crossbar.

Tinsley, meanwhile, nearly had an assist in the 56th minute, finding the head of fellow West Linn senior Maxwell Kelley who sent it just wide of goal. Tinsley also nearly found a goal his own, sending the ball over the crossbar with 13:30 to go in the game.

The quick start from Summit and ball control kept West Linn from getting in a rhythm offensively, according to Tinsley.

"They were better on the ball, they took care of it," Tinsley said. "We tried to play, but we had a lot of sloppy giveaways and bad mistakes. I don't know, we just weren't on tonight. We couldn't get numbers forward, we couldn't create much. I'm not happy with the way our team performed, but (I am happy) with the effort we gave and how far we've come. Obviously it's a sour taste after tonight."

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - West Linn senior Alejandro Valdes was named West Linn's Player of the Game for his work in the 6A state title game Saturday, Nov. 13.

After the game, Valdes was named West Linn's Player of the Game. The accolade, however, was bittersweet.

"It doesn't mean much with the result, to be honest, at least for me," Valdes said. "Just really wanted to play for the team and didn't get the result today."

West Linn went more than two months between its first defeat to Lakeridge and the title loss, and ran up a 16-game unbeaten streak.

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