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Tualatin takes a 2-0 lead, but the Pacers come back for 3-2 win in the Three Rivers League opener

DAN BROOD - Tualatin junior Santiago de la Torre (left) controls the ball against Lakeridge senior Collin Pinkerton in Thursday's match.TUALATIN — The Tualatin High School boys soccer team got off to a great start.

Lakeridge countered with a fantastic finish.

The fantastic finish — and the Pacers — won out.

Lakeridge, overcoming a 2-0 deficit, by scoring three goals in the final 17 minutes and 25 seconds of play, rallied to get a 3-2 win over the Timberwolves in a Three Rivers League opener played Thursday at Tualatin High School.

"This was insane," said Lakeridge junior Adam Kindorf, who scored the tying goal for the Pacers. "We knew we could do it. There's never a time you can't come back."

"After we got the first goal, we knew we'd turn it around," said Lakeridge senior Collin Pinkerton, who scored the match-winning goal.

With the victory, Lakeridge improved to 4-2-1 on the season. More importantly, the Pacers say, is their 1-0 start to Three Rivers League play.

"That's everything," Kindorf said.

Tualatin moved to 4-3-0 on the season with the league-opening setback.

"It's on to the next game," Tualatin junior goalkeeper Drew Malinowski said. "We have to learn from this, take it as a positive, and be ready for the next one."

"We have to keep our heads up," Tualatin junior Richy Olguin said. "We'll be ready for the next games. The other teams don't know what's coming."

DAN BROOD - The Timberwolves celebrate following a goal by junior Daniel Valdovinos (second from left) during Thursday's match with Lakeridge.Tualatin certainly seemed to be fired up at the start of Thursday's match against the defending Class 6A state champions. The Wolves got shots from junior Christian Pumpelly, junior Saul Aparicio and junior Santiago de la Torre in the first 10 minutes of the contest.

"We were fired up," Tualatin junior Brian Mercado said. "We really wanted to win."

Tualatin kept up the assault throughout the first half, and was finally rewarded. The Wolves took a 1-0 lead with 9:37 left in the first half, when Mercado scored on a free-kick shot from 26 yards out, with the ball hitting off the left post of the Pacer goal and bounding to the back of the net.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolf defense, including junior Owen Peterson, senior Sean Chamberlin, junior Alex Kerner and Olguin, among others, limited Lakeridge to just one shot on goal in the first half, preserving the Wolves' 1-0 lead at the break.

Tualatin carried its momentum into the second half. The Wolves upped their lead to 2-0 when junior Daniel Valdovinos was able to dribble his way past the Lakeridge defense, and hit a shot from 10 yards out into the open goal with 32:29 left to play in the contest.

But, after that, Lakeridge seemed to turn momentum its way.

Pacer junior Gian Gargurevich had a free-kick shot from 30 yards out skim off the top of the crossbar off the Tualatin crossbar with 26:23 left to play. Five minutes later, Lakeridge senior Myles Willis had a shot from 15 yards out that Malinowski tipped over the crossbar.

The Pacers were finally able to break through when Gargurevich scored on a free-kick attempt from 26 yards out, with the ball sailing just inside the left post of the Timberwolf goal, cutting the Tualatin lead to 2-1 with 17:25 left to play in the match.

DAN BROOD - Tualatin junior Saul Aparicio (left) and Lakeridge senior Nick Bowermaster both go up in an attempt to get a head on the ball during Thursday's match."After we got that first goal, we knew we'd come back," Kindorf said.

Lakeridge then tied the match, at 2-2, when Kindorf scored on a shot from 18 yards out, off a pass from Pinkerton, with 12:23 remaining in the contest.

"It was a great ball from Collin," Kindorf said. "All I had to do was finish it."

The Pacers completed the rally when Pinkerton converted on a header shot from 15 yards away on the left side, with the ball going into the right side of the Tualatin goal, giving Lakeridge a 3-2 lead with 6:57 left to play.

"I saw the keeper come out," Pinkerton said of the play. "I tried to get the ball up, and, luckily, it went in."

Tualatin, trying to battle back and get the equalizer, got a shot from Pumpelly from 19 yards out with 1:24 left to play, but the ball bounded just wide right of the Lakeridge goal, leaving the Pacers with a 3-2 victory.

DAN BROOD - Tualatin junior Christian Pumpelly (front) keeps control of the ball against Lakeridge senior Michael Dudek during Thursday's match."The first half was frustrating," Kindorf said. "But the second half was a lot of fun."

Lakeridge, for the match, had eight shots on goal (seven in the second half) and three corner kicks. Tualatin had nine shots on goal and four corner kicks.

"We were up 2-0 against the defending state champions," Malinowski said. "That's a positive. You can't dwell on the negatives."

"We fought hard, and jumped on them," Tualatin coach Sean McMahon said. "But you have to put them away. Our guys are young, still, and they have big-game experience. And big players make big plays."

Both teams will return to league action on Monday. Lakeridge will play at Lake Oswego at 6 p.m. and Tualatin will host Newberg at 7 p.m.

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