With the Jesuit girls lacrosse team up by just one goal in the final minutes of the Oregon Girls Lacrosse Association state championship game on Friday night, Crusader goalkeeper Sydney Partovi was the only thing keeping the team from facing a tie game.
After a foul was called, the crowd at Pioneer Memorial Stadium was buzzing as a Lake Oswego player lined up 15 yards out from the goal for a free possession.
“In that moment, it was just me and watching the person with the ball,” Partovi said. “I was just focused on anything else. I tried to sound out the fans and everything. I just did my best.”
Partovi grabbed the shot, a play that ultimately sealed Jesuit’s 12-11 win over the Lakers as the Crusaders became back-to-back state champions.
Of the players on the roster, there are three seniors who were on the state championship teams as freshmen and again as seniors: Kiana Santiago, Karis Huh and Parker House.
“It’s kind of crazy,” said Santiago. “It’s like full circle. Us three were the only freshman on the team that year when we won the state championship. So it’s a nice way to end the season and my career at Jesuit.”
Another major boost for the Crusaders was the offensive power of Santiago. In her final game for the Crusaders, the senior scored a hat trick in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The early second-half run was crucial in the Crusaders taking the win on Friday.
“We just had to hop on our way,” Santiago said. “We always say, like, ‘Feed off one good thing and a bunch will follow.’ So I think after the first timeout (midway through the first half), we were still frantic because they started scoring.”
The game was mostly back and forth in the first half, with the teams trading points. A late goal from Lake Oswego’s Courtney Havel made it a 7-6 Jesuit lead at halftime. But in the opening of the second half, Santiago was on the money. She scored one goal just second into the second half as the Crusaders opened the half on a 4-1 scoring streak that gave Jesuit an 11-7 lead.
“We know how to play our own game and go out and do it,” Santiago said of the Crusaders’ second-half burst. “And that’s what we did right off the bat.”
While Jesuit’s scoring barrage gave them a nice lead, it was far from the end of the game. With the Crusaders leading 12-8 after a goal from Daskalos with 11 minutes and 20 seconds left in the game, Lake Oswego went on a run.
With 9:32 left in the game, Laker freshman Barrett Doan scored on a free possession shot. Then less than two minutes later, Lake Oswego’s Reilly Mullen scored. A minute later, Kate Anders scored to make it a 12-11 game.
After Partovi’s game-sealing save on a free possession shot, the Lakers did have one more chance at the goal with less than a minute left. However, Jesuit’s tough defense didn’t allow a shot off as the final horn sounded.
The win also caps off an unblemished season for the Crusaders, who ended the season 17-0. The Crusaders outscored opponents 232-90 on the season.
Despite that, Pertovi said she still had a lot of nerves coming into the final game.
“I was honestly really nervous,” Partovi said. “I was really confident in my team and the ability of everybody. We’ve been through so much as a team together and I’ve played with so many of them for so long, since like third grade, so I was really confident. We’re like a family.”
Friday was the second meeting between the two teams this season. Jesuit won the first game 10-8 on March 30.
Before COVID-19 ended the state championships of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the Crusaders won the 2019 state championship. Fittingly enough, Jesuit’s 2019 title was from a 13-12 win over Lake Oswego.
Along with players like Partovi and state Player of the Year Piper Daskalos, the Crusaders have a large junior class of 13 players who will be hungry to be repeat champions again. Santiago had a very simple word of advice for the team next season:
“Play as a team,” Santiago said. “If you start playing individually, you’re going to fall apart and I think the one thing this team has that some other teams in the past haven’t is chemistry. And that will win them the state championship next year.”
— Nik Streng, firstname.lastname@example.org, @NikStreng
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