The Lakers knock off last year’s Class 6A state runner-up
This one was big.
This one meant a lot.
“This one” was the Lake Oswego girls soccer team’s 1-0 non-league win over Beaverton at Beaverton High School on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
Here’s why it mattered.
The Lakers were coming off a tough 2-0 loss to Metro League power Jesuit just two days earlier, while Beaverton — another Metro team — was no cupcake either. Indeed, the Beavers had outperformed the Crusaders in the 2021 Class 6A state playoffs, advancing all the way to the 6A championship game while top-seeded Jesuit flamed out in the second round.
None of that was lost on the Lakers.
“They were in the finals last year so winning this game means a lot,” said Lake Oswego senior midfielder and team captain Megan Ko. “We had a tough loss against Jesuit so we’re just taking it one game at a time.”
“I think just taking one game at a time was the key,” said junior goalkeeper Sadie Gardner, who notched a shutout against the Beavers. “Every game we have in the preseason is a tough one and they all count.”
With the win, Lake Oswego snapped its one-game losing streak and improved to 2-1 overall. Beaverton, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time, saw its winless streak grow to five games and fell to 1-3-2 overall. Next up, the Lakers play at Camas, Washington — the reigning Washington big-school state champion — at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20.
As gratifying as the final result was, the Lakers found themselves back on their heels throughout much of the first half.
Likewise, the Beavers went scoreless in the first half, but racked up eight shots — one on goal — and created four dangerous scoring chances. First, senior Peyton Barker set up freshman Malin Deckert for a miss 15 minutes into the game. Next, Deckert collected a rebound off a shot by freshman Lane Lee and ricocheted an attempt off the right post with 10 minutes left in the half.
With six minutes left in the half, Lee missed an attempt high over the Laker goal. And in the final minute, Beaver senior Natalie Drotzmann pushed the ball up the middle of the field, sent it to senior Roxanne Rundle on the left edge and she fed Lee for a hard shot that missed left of the LO goal.
After a first half that saw the Beavers control possession, shots and use their physicality to great effect, the Lakers turned the tide in the final 40 minutes.
They stepped up their own physical play, won more of the 50-50 balls and immediately created more scoring chances, the first a shot by junior Ella Olivia, the second a long pass from Ko to senior Megan Voss that forced a stop by charging Beaverton sophomore keeper Olivia Wilde.
“That is a lot of what (Lake Oswego coach Foday Kabba) says is about getting to the ball first so that they don’t have a chance to have it at their feet to be able to attack on us,” said junior defender/midfielder Mairin Kelly, who scored the game’s lone goal. “If the ball is coming over and we’re able to get there first, then we’ll be able to play out of the back.”
The Beavers responded with a trio of chances — the first two by senior midfielder Natalie Drotzmann and the third from Lee (she had an apparent goal waived off by officials due to a Beaverton violation) — and a pair of corner kicks before the Lakers broke through.
After a missed shot by LO junior Annabelle Baggio with 15 minutes left in the game, the Lakers were awarded a free kick following a Beaverton foul. Kelly set up for the attempt from 25 yards out on the left side of the field and sent a long, looping kick toward the Beaverton goal that soared over the hands of the leaping Wilde into the top of the goal with 13:40 left in the contest.
“I was told that I was getting put on set pieces maybe two practices ago so it was super exciting,” Kelly said, adding that she thought her shot had a chance to go in. “I was hoping it would (score), yeah, I was aiming for the far post.”
“I had full faith in her,” Ko added.
The Lakers kept the heat on and kept control of the ball for most of the next 10 minutes, and even though Beaverton tried to respond late, LO’s defense was up the challenge, with Gardner stopping Beaverton senior Martha Burkhart’s late shot and Lee missing on the follow in the game’s final 20 seconds.
“I think we just realized that we needed to play harder and fight for each other,” Ko said. “I think a lot of the first half, we were a bit frantic which is something we’ve struggled a lot with in the past, so in the second half, we just had to clear our minds and go at it.”
“I thought our physicality was a lot better (in the second half),” Gardner added. “We were winning more aerial balls, we just had more effort, getting to the balls first, winning 1 v 1s.”
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