The Pacers push No. 2 Newberg into OT in their semi, then grab third.
The Lakeridge boys water polo team has long been one of Oregon’s best.
And the Pacers proved that was still the case in 2022.
Lakeridge, which appeared in four straight state championship games from 2017-21 (with no championship in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions), was in the running again this year. The Pacers fought their way to second place in the tough-as-nails Three Rivers League, won twice in the Oregon High School Water Polo playoffs and eventually finished third at state.
Pacers head coach Aukai Ferguson knew what was ahead when he commented on the Pacers’ chances in the team’s 2022 preview story.
“I am very excited for this year’s Three Rivers League on the boys side,” he said. “It’s my opinion that the Three Rivers League will be the one of the toughest in the state.”
That was certainly the case, with Lake Oswego first, Newberg second and Lakeridge third at state. The Pacers showed they were up to the task in the postseason, first winning two playoff games in the playoffs at Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis on Saturday, Nov. 5, then coming back to go 1-1 and finish third at Osborn on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11-12.
While the third-ranked Pacers fell short in the semifinals — falling 13-10 in overtime to TRL foe No. 2 Newberg — they came back to beat No. 4 Barlow 18-8 in the third-place game.
Lakeridge led just 3-2 at the end of the first quarter, but blasted Barlow with an 8-0 margin in the second period that set the table for their eventual victory.
In the win over the Bruins, seniors Brody Burk and Markus Wojtalik scored four goals each, senior Colin Alexander added three scores and junior goalie Lucas Tyson added seven blocks.
Wojtalik won a berth on the all-tournament first team, Burk was named to the second team, and Alexander and senior John Allison both won spots on the honorable mention all-tourney team.
In addition to Wojtalik, Burk, Alexander and Allison, freshman Ethan Thomas, senior Henry Sturges, Tyson and senior Rocco Lepiane won all-league honors for the Pacers.