Lincoln girls down Barlow with late first-half goal

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PARKER LEE - Lincoln's Morgan Matthews carries a ball through the midfield ahead of Barlow's Taylor Rispler during Tuesday's 1-0 win in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. The Lincoln girls soccer team waltzed into Tuesday’s second-round playoff match at Barlow with a swagger that stopped the Bruins in their tracks.

The Cardinals pulled off a 1-0 stunner as they played with overwhelming tenacity and aggression that Barlow couldn’t match.

“I was really surprised, usually we are the physical team,” Barlow coach Jason Hubert said. “I don’t know if it was nerves or what, but we just could not do it tonight. I was begging them to be physical, and no one was.”

The 10th-ranked Cardinals (11-4-0) advanced to the Class 6A quarterfinals, where they will face No. 2 Jesuit (13-0-3) at noon Saturday on the Crusaders' field.

Lincoln has won its last five games and hasn't given up a goal in its past three games.

Barlow, ranked seventh by the Oregon School Activities Association, imposed its will on most of the teams it faced during the regular season. In the opening minutes against Lincoln, the Bruins (11-2-3) looked perplexed that they weren’t outpacing the Cardinals.

Midway through the first half, Barlow started controlling possession and creating chances to score. At the 10-minute mark, Kayla Currin chased down a ball headed for the left corner and clipped it back to the right across the goal. It bounced in front of multiple Bruins as it passed by Lincoln goalkeeper Rosie Van Vliet, but none could put a foot or head on it.

About two minutes later, Barlow’s Bethany Leliefeld raced down the left side with a defender on her heals. As the Cardinals braced themselves for a shot, Leliefeld skipped a pass back toward the middle of the field to Marisa Ewing who booted it with authority at the goal. The Barlow fans, coaches and players held a collective breath as the ball whizzed through the air, then let out a united groan of frustration as it sailed a few inches over the crossbar.

With the exception of one play that only took 10 seconds, Barlow maintained control for the rest of the half, but that single play was the difference in the match.

Near midfield, a Cardinal intercepted a low Barlow pass and swung it to forward Morgan Matthews on the right side. Matthews managed to get a few steps ahead of Barlow’s Taylor Risper and broke for the end line.

When Matthews was inside the goal box, she ripped a shot at the left post. Barlow goalkeeper Alex Qualls dove to the right spot only a split-second too late and the net caught the ball. With just 1:41 until halftime, Lincoln grabbed the lead.

“My defensive player of the year moves up the field one time and they took the opportunity and scored,” Hubert said. “That was really the only shot they had.”

With about six minutes left, Matthews nearly put Lincoln up by two goals when she had the ball on a breakaway. Qualls kept her team in it by blocking Matthews’ shot from just yards away, but Barlow could not find another good look at the net.

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