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Vikings fall behind early, get within one then dominate second-half, but can't get equalizer in defeat

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Forest Grove's Sophie Davis chases down a ball during the Vikings' playoff game Oct. 31 at Cleveland High School.The Forest Grove girls' soccer season came to an end Tuesday night, Oct. 31 at Cleveland High School, but while over and obviously not the way they would've preferred it to play out, it was a successful year and a step in the right direction for a team on the rise.

"I'm very proud of the team and what they did this year," said Forest Grove head coach Nacho Olvera. "A year ago we were ranked No. 49 in the state and this year we're ranked 20th and made it to the second round of the playoffs. This year and this game will be huge for us next year."

The Vikings fell to the No. 4-ranked Cleveland Warriors 2-1. The Warriors scored two early goals, then hung- n for the remainder of the game as the young Forest Grove squad scratched and clawed its way back, only to run out of time and fall a goal short of tying the game and sending it into overtime.

"We started very slow and I think we were just nervous," said Olvera. "Our girls were new to the playoffs and I think they let Cleveland's No. 4 ranking get to them early on."

Cleveland's initial goal came as a result of a header after a great cross from the sideline. Their second score was due to a miscommunication by the Viking defense. The Warriors sent a long ball down the left sideline and between Forest Grove's left back and wing, but as it approached the two Viking defenders waited for the other to react, and before they knew it the ball had gone past them. A Cleveland player possessed it, then put a rocket beyond the reach of Forest Grove goalie Hailey Peterson.

"It was a really good shot," said Olvera. "It was a mistake on our part, but those things happen."

However, the Vikings responded late when a Sophie Davis goal pulled them within 2-1 just before halftime.

"When Sophie scored that goal at the end of the first half I thought to myself, 'We're back in this thing,'" Olvera said. "And in the second half we outplayed them, but we could just not get the ball in the goal."

And the Viking girls did have their chances. Junior forward Lilly McGee had a couple good opportunities and Davis had a breakaway one-on-one with Cleveland goalie Franny Milhizer, but a touch too many allowed Milhizer to get to the ball before Davis could get her shot off.

"I think the girls just got anxious in that second half," Olvera said. "Rather than being patient and taking good shots, they were just kicking it when they had a chance without much of a purpose."

While the season may be over, Olvera was proud of the team and the season they put together. They finished with a 11-4-1 overall record, placed fourth in the Greater Valley Conference, and with eight returning starters are set up nicely for an even better run next year.

"It will be hard to replace girls like Katie Rebsom and Yasmin Aguilar," said Olvera. "But I have a couple girls that will step up, so I definitely think we can do it and be have a great season next year."

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