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Girls soccer team falls in tough playoff game


Westview awarded two penalty kicks and fends off the Lions

by: VERN UYETAKE - West Linn's Lydia VanWinkle chases down a ball during the Lion's opening playoff game against Westview last week. The season ended for West Linn's girls soccer team last week as the Lions fell to Westview in the first round of the playoffs 2-1.

It was a difficult finish to a strong season for the Lions as both of Westview's goals came on questionable penalty kicks and West Linn was forced to play catchup for much of the contest.

West Linn won the possession battle and had multiple scoring chances in the game but couldn't quite complete the rally.

While the Lions got off to a fast start, putting early pressure on the Wildcats with nice runs by Juliana Guthner and Katie Moller, it was Westview that cracked the scoreboard first.

Westview controlled the ball at the top of the goal box and the Wildcat forward fell down while trying to maneuver through a trio of West Linn defenders. The referee signaled a foul and Westview easily scored the ensuing penalty kick.

“One person's going to see it one way and someone else will see it another way. It's just tough, especially early on in a playoff game, but you can't do much about it,” coach Kelli Cronkrite said.

West Linn continued to have the better of the play in the first half but couldn't come up with an equalizer and trailed at the break.

The early stages of the second half went back and forth with the Lions continuing to be aggressive up front. West Linn was routinely able to possess the ball deep in Westview territory but the Wildcat defense was adept at not allowing too many golden opportunities.

The Wildcats would take a commanding lead in the second half on another tough call. On a breakaway, a speedy Westview forward lost her footing just after entering the goal box and the team was awarded another penalty kick. The score would make it 2-0.

West Linn continued to battle, pushing forward even more aggressively. The Lions' efforts paid off when a free kick from Katie Moller was knocked in by Madison Mills, cutting the deficit in half.

That goal gave West Linn a boost of momentum and the Lions were in control for the remainder of the game.

“I couldn't have asked for more out of their effort. We just ran out of time,” Cronkrite said.

However, the Lions couldn't knock in the equalizer and saw their season end. Westview would go on to upset No. 1 Tigard on Tuesday.

West Linn finished the year as the No. 2 team out of the Three Rivers League. The Lions graduate just four seniors and return the bulk of their starters next year.

“It's tough to go out any time, especially when I still think this team had the talent to compete for a state championship, but I'm already excited for next year to let this team develop,” Cronkrite said.