Lake Oswego’s boys remain unbeaten for ’22 after beating Lakeridge a third straight time this year.
The Lakers did it again.
And they — the Lake Oswego boys water polo team — did it again for the 54th straight time.
The Lakers, facing crosstown rival Lakeridge in the second annual Battle of the Lake at Lake Oswego School District Pool on Wednesday, Oct 12, rolled to an 11-4 win that marked their 54th consecutive victory.
“We’ve got a great group of boys so our plan was to go in there hard,” said Lake Oswego sophomore goalie Aidan Shannon, who helped his team establish a 9-3 lead before leaving with a knee injury late in the third quarter. “We had to show them we were the better, bigger team and I think we did a good job of that.”
“Our boys did a good job of preventing the ball from moving around,” said LO senior Hudson Schneider, who led his team with four goals. “It helped slow everything down. If you have to shoot in the last couple of seconds, it’s a lot harder to get a good shot. It was a good one.”
With the win, the top-ranked Lakers’ 20th straight this season and 54th straight over the past two years, Lake Oswego improved to 5-0 in Three Rivers League play and 20-0 overall. No. 3 Lakeridge, meanwhile, saw its one-game winning streak snapped and fell to 3-3 in TRL play and 13-8 overall. Next up, the Pacers play at Tigard at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, while the Lakers host Newberg at 6 p.m. Monday.
“Lake Oswego is one of the bigger challenges we’ve had so far,” said Lakeridge senior team captain John Allison. “But thinking about today, thinking about the way I would want to play and the way I would want our team to perform … I was happy with the way I played and happy with the way my friends played. We showed a lot of growth from where we started.”
“We just need to keep improving. A bunch of small victories every time,” added Pacer senior Rocco Lepiane. “The best team today is not necessarily the best team in November.”
That said, the Lakers were undoubtedly the best team in the pool during Wednesday’s first quarter, a period that saw them score five unanswered goals and grab a commanding lead they would never relinquish.
Laker senior Carlo Cremona and Schneider scored twice each in that opening frame — with senior Jackson Barney assisting on two of those goals — while LO sophomore Henry Saur added his team’s fifth goal in the watershed first period.
“That’s like the dream start,” Shannon said. “It can’t really get much better than that.”
“We got our lead and we just tried to maintain our lead for the rest of the time,” Schneider said.
The Pacers steadied themselves and won the second quarter 2-1 — getting goals from senior Markus Wojtalik and senior Henry Sturges — but got no closer than 6-2 at halftime.
Lakeridge then edged within 6-3 at the start of the third quarter, but got no closer the rest of the way. The Lakers answered with four straight scores — by Schneider, junior Campbell Smith, Barney and sophomore Kane Saur to pull away — with Saur banking a hard shot off the right post into the goal with 6:19 left in the game for a 10-3 lead, its biggest of the game.
“It was a really defensively sound game,” Schneider said. “Our press defense was really solid.”
For their part, the Lakers believe they’re headed in the right direction.
“Now that we’ve moved back to more of a defensive mindset, it’s really paced our offense a lot more effectively,” Allison added. “We’re making a lot less rushed passes, passes to the wrong places, passes that go to the wrong places and cause turnovers. The first two times we played Lake Oswego, there were a lot of forced turnovers that came on passes that just didn’t need to happen.”
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